FERNLEY — The best time of the season for a team to play its best ball is at the end.
With the end of the regular season appearing larger in the windshield, the Elko volleyball team appears to be trending in the right direction — upward.
Following a straight-set home loss Oct. 5 to South Tahoe, the Lady Indians have gone 2-1 — the lone loss coming in five sets on the road at No. 1 Truckee.
On Tuesday, Elko made fairly-short work against the Lady Vaqueros, in Fernley.
Elko avenged straight-set home loss on Sept. 21 with a four-set victory Tuesday, opening with a lopsided win of 25-14 in the first set.
Fernley’s lone win in the match came by a narrow score of 25-23 in the second frame, the Lady Indians turning the tides and taking a close 25-23 win in the third game.
In the fourth, Elko carried over the momentum and never let down with Fernley’s back to the wall — closing the show by a score of 25-16.
Senior Madison Ballard led the Lady Indians with 18 kills, senior Tara Welch following with 13 putaways and senior Cassie Spence nearing double-digit kills with eight.
Junior Hannah McIntosh and sophomore EmmaJay Larsen each finished with three kills.
Ballard also blocked a pair of shots, McIntosh and Spence swatting one shot apiece.
The Lady Indians served a number of aces; McIntosh pacing the attack with three.
Junior Piper Johnson and Spence served two aces each, juniors Amelia Moye and Mariah Johnston adding one apiece.
On Saturday, the Lady Indians pushed the No. 1 and unbeaten-in-league Lady Wolverines to the brink.
In the first meeting on Sept. 13, Elko won the first set but was blasted in the next-three games.
However, Truckee made it four sets in a row over Elko between the two matches — winning the first game by a score of 25-12.
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The streak reached five straight sets as the Lady Wolverines cruised to a 25-14 win in the second set Saturday.
To their credit, the Lady Indians did not fold.
Elko came back and took the third set 25-22, staving off elimination once again with a convincing 25-19 victory in the fourth.
In the race to 15, the Lady Indians wore down — Truckee winning the fifth-and-deciding game by a score of 15-7.
Ballard topped the offense again with 15 putaways, Spence and Welch closing with six each and McIntosh notching three.
At the net, the defense was stellar.
Spence blocked a ridiculous seven shots, Welch following with four.
Larsen assisted four blocks and swatted one of her own, Ballard also making a rejection.
McIntosh, Harris and Spence served one ace apiece.
Versus North Valleys
The Lady Indians opened their road trip with a straight-set win on Oct. 11, at North Valleys, in Reno.
Despite the sweep, Elko started slowly — the first set serving as the closest of the match.
The Lady Indians pulled out a 25-23 win and then dominated the rest of the action, ripping off victories of 25-10 and 25-10.
Ballard closed with 11 kills, Welch notching 10 putaways.
Spence killed four shots, and McIntosh and senior Cassi Christensen each put down two kills.
Spence tied for the team high with three aces and blocked a shot, Moye also serving three aces.
Due to Elko’s homecoming, the Lady Indians (10-5 in league) will play a one-game road trip against the winless Lady Railroaders (0-12 in league) at 6 p.m. Friday, in Sparks.