Shadow Ridge volleyball coach Karissa Guthrie announces retirement

After leading Shadow Ridge’s girls volleyball team to its first state championship in November, Mustangs coach Karissa Guthrie is calling it a career after 12 seasons.

Guthrie told the Review-Journal on Tuesday she is retiring to spend more time with her family.

“I think it was just time,” Guthrie said. “It was something I’ve been thinking about for a couple years as my son continues to get older and older. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

Shadow Ridge, which reached the Class 4A state tournament three of the past four seasons, knocked off defending champion Bishop Gorman 26-24, 17-25, 25-12, 21-25, 15-9 in front of a standing room-only crowd at Faith Lutheran on Nov. 11.

“There’s never a good time to step down, but it was nice after winning a state title this year to go out on top,” Guthrie said.

The Mustangs finished 31-11 and 12-1 in Sunset League play, and had two members on the all-state team and three honorable mentions. They are expected to graduate seven seniors this spring, including 6-foot-2-inch outside hitter Whittnee Nihipali, who was recently named Gatorade Player of the Year and has signed with Arizona.

“Throughout the years I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of athletes go on to continue playing at the next level,” Guthrie said. “So now I might actually be able to catch a couple games.”

Guthrie went 130-53 (47-4 league) the past five seasons, and turned the Northwest school into a perennial contender in the Sunset Region. She will continue her duties as the Program Director of Vegas United Volleyball Club.

“It’s not like I’m going completely away from the sport,” she said.

Shadow Ridge will be expected to lean on juniors Natalie Nihipali and Alysha Smith next season.

Shadow Ridge assistant coach and alumna Niehely Sosa will take over as head coach.

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