1A CHAMPIONSHIP: Pahranagat rallies past Lake Mead

Just two points stood between Lake Mead and back-to-back Class 1A girls volleyball state championships Saturday at Silverado High.

But the girls from Pahranagat Valley weren’t ready to return home as the runner-up for another year.

Down two games and 23-21 in the fourth game, the Panthers escaped, then blitzed the Eagles in the fifth to win state title No. 13 in the small school’s history, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-6.

“We made (up) our minds that we weren’t going to quit, no matter what the score was,” Panthers coach Ginger Whipple said.

Pahranagat Valley lost twice to Lake Mead this season, including a three-game defeat in last week’s 1A Southern Region championship match. Whipple talked with her team about the old adage of how difficult it is to beat a team three times in one season, and the Panthers looked confident from the beginning of Round 3.

Halle Lewis and Kyla Mortensen appeared sharp in the first game, posting strong hits to help the Panthers win the opener.
Lewis finished with a team-high 14 kills, while Mortensen added seven.

“It was huge for us because we had lost the first game every time,” Whipple said.

The Eagles settled down quickly, though, winning the next two games behind the talented duo of Ashley Newton and Amanda Wellman.

Newton converted a number of big swings on her way to 21 kills and Wellman’s serving baffled the Panthers for much of the match. Wellman totaled eight aces on the night.

The Eagles got out to a 15-11 lead in the fourth game before a series of errors tightened the score, but three of Newton’s kills and a block from Wellman put Lake Mead within two points of its second state title in school history.

Eagles coach Diana Lewis said her team just couldn’t come up with the big play when it needed one.

“We never could get the offense going today,” Lewis said. “One mistake after one mistake, it just couldn’t happen for us today.”

Setter Jocelyn Cox had 33 assists for the Eagles.

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