2A CHAMPIONSHIP: Mustangs return to league form in state championship win

Losing last week’s Class 2A Southern Region title game proved to be little more than a speed bump on the road to higher aspirations for The Meadows.

After surviving five games against Pershing County in Friday’s semifinals, the Mustangs looked like the team that went undefeated in league play as they defeated Whittell, 25-22, 25-19, 12-25, 25-17, Saturday at Silverado High to win the fourth girls volleyball state championship in school history.

Last week’s five-game loss to Lincoln County didn’t rattle the Southern League’s second seed. Neither did the tight match with

Pershing County or a third-game pounding by Northern League second seed Whittell. The Mustangs’ victory also denied Whittell a seventh consecutive 2A crown.

“During the season, we always played with a lot of poise,” Mustangs coach Stephanie Heller said. “We’ve always been a confident team, not cocky.”

The Meadows’ Laura Walsh said her team never worried when it hit rough patches against the Warriors.

“I think we played in control,” Walsh said.

Thanks to Walsh and Kathryn Chakmak, The Meadows never really had much to worry about. With Walsh swinging well from the outside and Chakmak keeping the Whittell block honest in the middle, the Mustangs cruised through the first two games. Chakmak put down 10 kills and Walsh recorded nine.

Whittell sprinted to a 13-3 advantage in the third game on its way to a win, but The Meadows methodically took down the Warriors in the fourth game. The Mustangs passed the ball extremely well, allowing setter Vanessa Hall to distribute the ball to all her hitters. Hall finished with 30 assists.

“Our passing, we’ve worked on all season because it’s been our weak point in past years,” Walsh said. “We have a really outstanding libero (Kristyna Fong) that we love to brag about.”

Isabel Concha-Foley recorded 13 kills for Whittell.

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