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Balanced effort helps Shadow Ridge make quick work of Silverado

The purple and teal scoreboards inside the Silverado High School gymnasium were both out of operation Thursday evening, leaving hundreds of fans in attendance to eyeball a makeshift device on the scorer’s table.

Karissa Guthrie didn’t need to peak at it very often.

Shadow Ridge’s longtime girls volleyball coach stood comfortably on the sideline as her veteran team dominated from the opening set en route to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-20 win over the Skyhawks.

“I think we set the tempo kind of early,” Guthrie said. “Our players were disciplined and we were able to get a lot of people involved.”

Arizona-bound senior Whittnee Nihipali led the way with 10 kills, three aces and 13 digs for the Mustangs (7-2). But it wasn’t just the 6-foot-2-inch outside hitter who caused fits for Silverado’s defense.

Shadow Ridge setters Autumn Spendlove and Alysa Smith spearheaded the unpredictable attack. The two went back and forth feeding arguably the biggest front line in the state, and the Skyhawks (5-8) had no answer.

“I do think Whittnee is (the best player in the state),” Guthrie said. “She does a lot of things really, really well. But we emphasize to our setters that we need to run an offense and get everybody involved. We’ve been doing a good job of that.

“We want to get to those sets at the end of the match, where all of our hitters are fresh. And we’re able to put balls down then just as well as we did in the first set.”

The Mustangs grabbed early leads in each set, which allowed them to unload their bench in the third game. Shadow Ridge never trailed, save for a brief moment at the beginning of the match.

“It was really nice being able to get everyone involved,” Guthrie said. “You never know when (someone) will be needed. We have a lot of depth on our bench, so it’s nice to have girls go in and the transition be pretty easy.”

Smith finished with 15 assists and three aces, and Kizzy Rodriguez added five kills and 16 digs for the Mustangs.

Silverado’s Sydney Berenyi — the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year who is committed to Dixie State — had 13 kills and 12 digs.

Claire Binfield had 22 assists, and Kaylynn Smith notched 10 digs for the Skyhawks.

“(Shadow Ridge) is really well-coached. They have good ball control, serving, passing,” Silverado coach Eric Drum said. “And, of course, they’re huge — they’re the biggest team in the valley. … I schedule these games because I want to play the best. I think there were some positives from the match that we can build on.”

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at 702-383-0430 or aferguson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.

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