1A STATE: Lake Mead serves notice; seasoned Panthers also return to final

It seems simple.
Toss a volleyball overhead and strike it over the net.
But Lake Mead’s volleyball team turned the serve into an art form in a Class 1A state semifinal at Silverado on Friday.
The defending state champions served an eye-popping 27 aces en route to a 25-15, 25-19, 25-12 win over McDermitt.
Lake Mead will meet Pahranagat Valley in a rematch of last year’s title match Saturday at 10 a.m.
“At the beginning of the year, our serves were not so hot,” said senior Amanda Wellman, who had 11 aces Friday. “In practices, we work on just straight serving for 20-30 minutes. It’s something that takes a lot of practice.”
Wellman rattled off five consecutive aces as Lake Mead grabbed a 6-0 lead in the final game.
The serves aren’t overwhelmingly powerful. But the placement is nearly perfect.
“That’s definitely important,” Wellman said. “You want to look for a certain place or for a player who has had trouble receiving serves.”
Emma Khachikian, who serves after Wellman in the Eagles’ rotation, added six aces.
That wasn’t the only strong point in the Eagles’ game Friday.
Ashley Newton had 14 kills as the Eagles used a three-pronged offensive attack, with Newton, Wellman and Sam Herman all effectively hitting.
“Even if they do get the serve back in, we have a lot of offensive weapons,” said Lake Mead coach Diana Lewis. “We are blessed with a lot of talent.”
Jocelyn Cox added 22 assists for the Eagles, who successfully navigated around McDermitt 6-foot-5-inch middle blocker Becky Kershner.
The Eagles beat Pahranagat Valley twice this season, winning 3-1 in the regular-season matchup at Alamo and 3-0 last week in the Class 1A Southern Region title match.
Panthers sweep Coleville
There’s no substitute for experience in the postseason.
Pahranagat Valley’s girls volleyball team showed that Friday morning.
The Panthers, making their yearly pilgrimage to the state tournament, showed the poise and confidence of a veteran squad, sweeping Coleville, 25-11, 25-17, 25-21 in a Class 1A state semifinal at Silverado.
The Panthers will face Lake Mead in the state title match Saturday at 10 a.m.
The 12-time state champions scored the first six points of the opening game and never looked back, taking advantage of mistake after mistake by the Wolves.
“You could really tell,” said Pahranagat Valley coach Ginger Whipple. “Our girls seemed more relaxed than theirs. We got into our offense early.”
Sophomore Halie Lewis had 11 kills and Dakota Day six for the Panthers.
Pahranagat Valley also had 14 aces — six from Ciera Smallwood — and took advantage of six serving and 12 hitting errors by the Wolves.
The final two points of the match came on attack errors by Coleville.

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