The Raiders suffered a little hiccup, but it didn’t halt their quest for back-to-back regional crowns as they took care of the Tigers in four games: 25-12, 25-16, 24-26, 25-15.
After rolling to a 13-point win in the first game, Reed erupted for the first five points of Game 2 and increased that lead to an 8-1 margin.
However, the Raiders were the first team to call timeout in the game after watching the Tigers claw their way back into contention by scoring six of the next seven points. The 9-7 deficit was the highlight of the set for the visitors.
Back-to-back kills by Kelsey Donohoe doubled the lead back up to four, 11-7. Reed kept the momentum going as an Emilie Braun kill increased the advantage to eight, 18-10.
The Raiders were fully in control from that point. A Taylor Whitehead ace saw the Raiders grab a 22-13 lead and forced a Douglas timeout.
After a sideout, the Blue and Gold got to game point thanks to a tip and a kill by Amber Harris, leaving the scoreboard reading 24-14, the only double-digit edge of the game.
Following consecutive points by the Tigers, a long serve handed the Game 2 victory to the hosts.
Douglas stayed close in Game 3, knotting the score at 4-4. The Raiders were able to pull away and looked poised to earn the sweep with a 17-10 lead.
That’s when the wheels fell off. Reed watched Douglas score four points in a row. Reed coach Kristen Flagtvedt called timeout in order to stall the momentum. The Raiders then watched the Tigers turn that rally into a string of seven unanswered points, tying the game at 17-17.
It was a whole new ballgame after that.
The Tigers couldn’t earn a lead, but they didn’t let the Raiders get very far either, tying the game at 19-19 before Katie McCullough hit a flat-footed shot crosscourt that was misplayed and gave Douglas a 20-19 advantage.
The teams traded sideouts until the RHS spikers put two points together to snare a 22-21 lead on a Braun block. But Reed couldn’t close it out.
A Reed serve wide led to another deadlock, 22-22. Then a cut shot by Jenna Broussard reclaimed the lead for the Minden school, 23-22.
Braun slammed down a kill to bring the two teams together again and forced a Douglas timeout. A diving dig by Donohoe set up a second straight kill by Braun, bringing Reed to within one point of the sweep.
Douglas had other ideas, tallying three points in a row to send the match into a fourth game.
“I just think we lost our focus. At that point, I think my team thought they had it,” Flagtvedt said. “Douglas is a scrappy team. It’s amazing the balls that they get to. I think we underestimated their play in that game.”
Luckily for the Blue and Gold faithful, who were eager to get home for some trick-or-treating, the fourth game was more like the first two than the third.
A Madi Funk kill propelled Reed into a game-high 15-4 lead.
The Tigers were able to close the gap to five on three different occasions at 17-12, 18-13 and 20-15. That was as close as it would get. The Raiders scored the final five points, sparked by a pair of Funk blocks, and the home team closed out the double-digit victory.
“We just realized we needed to play tight and do our job and not worry so much about what they’re doing,” Flagtvedt said.
Moriah Maluotoga led the Raiders with 10 kills, while Funk chipped in with nine kills and four blocks. Taylor Stefan had 31 assists and four aces. Whitehead added three aces.
Reed (26-8) now has the task of facing Sierra League champion Bishop Manogue Friday night. The semifinal is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at Spanish Springs High School.