The Lowry High School volleyball team has clinched a spot in the Northern 3A Regional Playoffs.
Now they will have to wait to see what its seeding will be in the first weekend of November.
The Lady Bucks defeated Churchill County 25-20, 25-16 and 25-14 on Thursday night in Winnemucca to remain in second place in the league standings.
However, just two losses separate the top five teams in the standings. A slip-up by any of the five teams could be costly when it comes to playoff seeding.
“We didn’t play our best at times, but it was good for us to get the win in three sets,” said LHS coach Brandon Eastman. “We need to continue to win. The league is so close right now. A couple of losses and you can go from first or second to fourth or fifth place.”
Lowry opened the match on a high note with a block from Brooke Hansen and a kill by Brittany Jacaway. But Churchill County held the momentum for much of the first set.
The Lady Bucks took the lead for good at 12-11 on a missed serve by the Greenwave and scored 10 of the next 11 points to pull away for the victory. Sophomore Sierra Maestrejuan had two kills during that stretch of points.
Lowry held a 10-point advantage at 22-12, only to see Churchill County close the gap to 23-20. However, the Lady Bucks scored the final two points, including the winning point on an ace by Jacaway.
“We have to be that team that finishes strong,” Eastman said. “We can’t let teams come back like that. We don’t want to give them any chance.”
Lowry collected kills from Julianne Montero and Jacaway to score the first five points of the second set before a serving error ended the rally. The Lady Bucks' play at the net continued to be strong with kills from Maestrejuan and Jacaway and blocks by Hansen and Jadyn Eastman.
Lowry pulled away late with a stretch of three points that included a kill by Maestrejuan, an ace by Alyssa Kuskie and a block by Jacaway. The Lady Bucks scored the winning point on a missed serve by Churchill County.
The third set saw the teams trade points in the beginning, with Lowry picking up aces from Tailor West and Kuskie and two kills by Montero.
With Lowry leading 12-11, Montero started a 13-3 rally to end the match with a tip in between Churchill County players. The Lady Bucks cruised from there, with Maestrejuan adding two kills.
Lowry falls to Fernley
Before hosting Churchill County, Lowry was on the road on Wednesday, Oct. 11, to take on Fernley. In the first meeting this year, the Lady Bucks swept the Vaqueros in three sets. It was a different story in Fernley.
Lowry won the opening set 25-18, only to see Fernley battle back and win the final three sets 28-26, 25-21 and 25-18.
The Lady Bucks overcame a 21-17 deficit in the second set to lead 24-23. Lowry had the opportunity to win the set on two occasions. The Lady Bucks held a 25-24 advantage, but served the ball in the net. The Vaqueros were able to come back and win the set.
“I felt we did not play really well,” Eastman said. “We came out and won the first set and had our chances in the second. We just can’t make the errors we did.”
The Lady Bucks led for much of the third set, but could not pull away. The set was tied six times before Fernley took the lead for good at 20-19. Lowry was within two points at 17-15 in the fourth set, but Fernley slowly pulled away to win the match.
“We are a completely different team on the road than we are at home,” Eastman said. “I know the girls love playing in front of their home crowd, but we have to learn to take that intensity on the road.”
Lowry hosted Elko on Tuesday and results were not available at press time. The Lady Bucks are back home Saturday to play Dayton at noon.
Fernley currently leads the Northern 3A at 10-3. Elko, Lowry and Truckee are tied for second place at 9-3. Dayton is fifth at 7-4 and South Tahoe holds the sixth and final playoff spot at 6-6.
The Northern 3A Regional Championships take place Nov. 3-4 in Fallon. The top two seeds get a first-round bye and do not play until Nov. 4.