A day after surviving what looked to be almost certain defeat, South Tahoe wasn't just happy to still be playing volleyball Saturday.
The Vikings were focused on just one thing: a Division I-A state championship. And they made it look surprisingly easy.
South Tahoe crushed Chaparral of Las Vegas in three sets Saturday at Galena, 25-17, 25-19 and 25-9, in a state-title match that took about an hour to decide.
In Friday's state semifinals, the Vikings held off three match points to beat Faith Lutheran, the top seed from the Div. I-A South, in a five-set thriller.
If there was any sort of emotional or physical hangover from that match, South Tahoe didn't show it during Saturday's championship.
"Losing was not an option for us; that was our mentality," Vikings middle blocker Drew Norberg said. "It wasn't going to ever come into our minds."
The state championship for South Tahoe was its first since 1990, when the Vikings won in the former 3A classification.
Norberg, a tall presence on an otherwise smallish South Tahoe roster, played a key role for the Vikings, especially on defense, where she helped to shut down the Cowboys' Jaeda Allen, a powerful hitter and arguably the best overall athlete on the court. Norberg finished with four blocks, four digs and a team-high 14 kills.
South Tahoe used back-breaking surges to win each of the final two games.
The Vikings broke an 11-11 tie in the second set with a 12-5 run to hold a comfortable 23-16 edge in the late-going. Minutes later, Norberg finished off the game with consecutive spikes.
The third set soon turned into a Viking volleyball clinic. South Tahoe sprinted away from an early 3-3 tie to lead by as much as 14-5. With Chaparral beginning to stand around and looking tentative as mistake after mistake piled up, the Vikings' lead ballooned to 23-6. Moments later, South Tahoe clinched its first volleyball title in 22 years.
"We've done it all year long; we have never understood the word 'quit,'" South Tahoe coach Dan McLaughlin said. "I knew we had pieces to this puzzle that were high-quality; we're a great serving team, we have the best middle in the state and we have players who bought into their roles all year. It was truly a magnificent team effort."
The Vikings' leaders Saturday were Norberg in kills and blocks, setter Raquel Marchesseault (34 assists), Bailey David (five digs) and Morgan Kaufer (seven aces).