Regional Championship Preview
Thursday’s Regional Semi-Finals left a packed house surprised with outcomes that were not in the cards at the beginning of the day. For me, it brought two sayings about post-season. 1st – throw out the records as the post-season is another season, and 2nd expect the unexpected.
Just two years ago, the same thing happened as both Division Champions fell in semi-final action, thus sending two teams to state that were not penciled in to go. But if you look at the records (just as a reference) both Douglas and Reno are 12-4 in league action and are no push-overs either.
Reno kept Bishop Manogue off-balance for most of the match. Only once did I notice a run of 4 or 5 points by Manogue only to see Reno shut the door and race back into the set. That doesn’t happen very often if you were 16-0 in league. But Reno did kept Manogue out of system and kept the pressure on, as Reno defeated Manogue in 4 sets. Note I just said defeated and not upset.
Second match had Douglas coming back from a set down as Reno did against Manogue to defeat Spanish Springs in 4 sets also. Douglas blocking finally was working in set #2 and began to frustrate the Cougars for the remaining of the match. That frustration lead to poor serve-received and their offense suffered leading to more frustration. I did mention in my preview to the semi-finals that Douglas middle blocker had to be on and both were. Seldom did the Cougars manage to see single blocking on the outside, and the kill blocks for Douglas had to be somewhere in the double digits.
Now for the Championship on Saturday afternoon in Galena. Since both teams are going to state, the pressure is somewhat off. But bragging rights are up for grabs. Reno hasn’t been in the Regionals Finals since before 2010. So, how will they handle the opportunity to win a Regional Title? For Douglas, it’s been only two years since they won the Regional title as a #3 seed from the Sierra Division.
Both teams are on a roll, and momentum will play a factor. Someone will enter state on a good winning streak and the other will be coming off a loss. So, who will win you ask?
Once again, I do believe it will come down to how well Douglas blocking is on. Reno has the guns to power them to a win, but Douglas blocking could put up the road block for the Tigers to win.
It is in my opinion that it’s a toss-up/pick-em situation. So, since I haven’t picked Reno in either of the first two rounds, I think I’ll go with Douglas in 4 sets and see if Reno gives me the hat-trick on being o for 3 in their matches.