SMALL SCHOOLS: Lake Mead, Pahranagat, Meadows move into finals

It seems simple.
Toss a volleyball up and strike it over the net.
But Lake Mead’s girls 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 weren’t overwhelmingly powerful, but the placement was 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 effectively hitting.
“Even if they do get the serve back in, we have a lot of offensive weapons,” Lake Mead coach Diana Lewis said. “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 numerous mistakes made by the Wolves.
“You could really tell,” Pahranagat Valley coach Ginger Whipple said. “Our girls seemed more relaxed than theirs. We got into our offense early.”
Sophomore Halie Lewis had 11 kills and Dakota Day added 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.
Class 2A
Defense carries The Meadows
Defense didn’t win a championship for The Meadows’ girls volleyball team on Friday.
But it did bring the Mustangs one step closer to the Class 2A state title.
Twice rallying from a one-game deficit, The Meadows used a steady defense to down Pershing County, 13-25, 25-12, 17-25, 25-23, 15-10 in a semifinal at Silverado.
“We play with a lot poise,” The Meadows coach Stephanie Heller said. “We’ve been down in matches this year, and we’ve been able to come back. We focus on our defense every day in practice.”
The Meadows will meet Whittell in the state final Saturday at noon.
Senior libero Kristyna Fong registered 33 digs, including 29 in the final four games of the match for The Meadows.
“She really leads by example out there,” Heller said. “It’s gotten to the point where the rest of our defense has picked up, and they don’t rely on her as much as they did last year. It’s turned us into a different team.”
Laura Walsh had 16 kills and 13 digs for The Meadows. Walsh’s kill from the left side, after three digs by Fong, ended the match.
“Our hitting errors hurt us early, but we made some adjustments,” Heller said. “We’ve got some good balance on offense.”
Austin McMillan added 15 digs and Sinead Lopez had 12 for the Meadows. Junior setter Vanessa Hall dished out 31 assists.
Pershing County libero Michelle Montes had 33 digs. Araceli Jimenez had 18 kills, and Alyssa Holland had 37 assists for Pershing County.
Whittell outlasts Lincoln County
Apparently, Lynx have nine lives, too.
Unfortunately for Lincoln County’s girls volleyball team, its ninth ran out in the fifth game of a marathon match against Whittell in the state semifinals Friday at Silverado.
Lincoln County fought off four match points in the third game, another one in the fourth game and nearly overcame a 5-0 deficit in the decisive game. In the end, the six-time defending-Class 2A champion Warriors pulled out a 25-17, 25-18, 24-26, 26-28, 15-10 win and set up a date in Saturday’s final against The Meadows.
“We made a good comeback,” Lincoln County coach Ken Thornock said. “We kept fighting, and we showed a lot of courage.”
Almost nothing went right for the Lynx in the first two games, when they registered a total of just seven kills. Poor passing gave Lincoln County almost no chance to win early. The Lynx couldn’t get any offensive rhythm.
“We didn’t pass really well,” Thornock said.
But down 24-21 in third game, the Lynx got a kill from Erika Wilkin, three consecutive errors by the Warriors and an ace to begin to work their way back into the match.
“A lot of teams would have given up,” Thornock said. “We fought every point.”
Whittell rattled off the first five points of the fifth game — three on Lincoln County errors — and never allowed the Lynx to get closer than two points down. The match ended on a Lincoln County serve into the net.
Marissa Smerek had 11 kills and 16 digs for Lincoln County. Michelle Wheatley added seven kills and 16 digs.
Also for the Lynx, Kori Gloeckner had 10 assists and 13 digs, and Kelbee Cheeney added 11 assists and 11 digs.
Isabel Concha-Foley paced Whittell’s offense with 27 kills. Darby Reeder added 16 kills and 17 digs. Austyn Herrera dished out 50 assists, and Rachel Laub added 19 digs for the Warriors.
Class 3A
Yerington gets one more shot at Truckee
Yerington’s girls volleyball team is 0-for-3 against rival-Truckee this season.
The Lions will get another chance to knock off the Wolverines in a big way Saturday.
Makenna Lommori had 16 assists, eight kills and four blocks to lead Yerington (29-5) to a 25-16, 25-7, 25-15 sweep of Boulder City in a Class 3A state semifinal Friday at Silverado.
The three-time defending-state champion Lions will meet Truckee (22-1) for the state title at 2 p.m. Saturday. It’s the third straight season the teams have met for the championship.
Brooke Aiazzi had eight digs and four kills for Yerington, which was never seriously threatened. At one point in the second game, the Lions led 23-4.
“We didn’t come to play tonight,” Boulder City coach Cherise Roe said. “The girls just couldn’t get the momentum on their side.
“I knew Yerington would be a strong team, but I expected to have a better showing than we did.”
Lyzette Aguilar had 10 digs for Yerington. Taylor Thomas and Alexandra Roberts added four kills each.
Paxton Fleming dished out 12 assists for Boulder City (22-9). Kelsey Ripplinger had 16 digs, and Emily Boyster contributed three kills and three blocks.
Truckee sweeps Virgin Valley
Annie Reiswig and Merry Brown have been leading the way for Truckee all season.
So it was no surprise the duo carried the Wolverines into the 3A state final.
Reiswig and Brown had 13 kills each to lift Truckee to a 25-23, 25-10, 25-15 sweep of Virgin Valley (14-15) in a semifinal at Silverado.
Senior middle hitter Brown also had four aces.
Jillian Akers dished out 24 assists and Kaylee Waters had 11 digs for Truckee, which wasn’t seriously threatened in the second or third games.
The Wolverines jumped to an 11-3 lead in the second game and an 11-1 lead in the third.
“Our level of intensity dropped, but we didn’t quit,” Virgin Valley coach Lori Barnum said.
Virgin Valley’s Annie Biasi and Madison Bowler had six kills and two aces apiece.
Rachel Morris had five kills and Nikki Hafen added 13 assists for the Bulldogs, who will lose only two seniors to graduation.
“I thought that Truckee was more experienced in this arena than we were,” Barnum said.

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