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STATE VOLLEYBALL: Crusaders beat Mountain Lions, claim second consecutive title

RENO — In sweeping two consecutive state tournament matches in straight sets, Faith Lutheran made it look easy.

Sometimes looks can be deceiving.

The Crusaders defeated Sierra Vista 25-14, 25-8, 25-12 to repeat as Division I-A state champions on Saturdeay at Galena.

“It’s always hard to win a championship, but it’s even harder to win a second because you kind of have everyone’s attention so you have a little bit more of a target on your back,” Faith Lutheran coach Amy Fisher said.

Cayla Nikodemus had 16 kills for the Crusaders (28-13), Bobbi Tharaldson added 15 kills, and Morgan Hill put down 10 kills as part of a versatile attack.

“They’re in sync, they made some good adjustments, they distributed the ball evenly amongst their hitters, and for any opponent, it’s tough to defend,” Sierra Vista coach Camille McComas said.

Faith Lutheran defeated Sierra Vista (22-11) in each of their four previous meetings this year and wasted no time setting the tone early. Then with a title in sight, the Crusaders didn’t let up.

“It feels even sweeter (than last year),” Hill said. “You just never get used to the feeling, it’s sweet. We knew we’d have a bullet on our backs, knew we had to work harder and teams would be out to get us.”

Sierra Vista never got a consistent attack going, Bailey Bergquist led the Mountain Lions with eight kills and nine digs. Sydney Land added eight kills, and Kira Felise had 14 assists and 16 digs.

“The bottom line is you gotta be able to pass and they were serving tough balls,” McComas said. “If you serve well you affect teams, and they did a nice job there. We kind of knew what we were dealing with and what it would take, and put it out there. I don’t think we have any regrets.”

DIVISION III

Yerington (36-2) won its second consecutive state championship and its seventh since 2006 beating White Pine, 25-15, 26-24, 25-12.

Kassidy Lommori had 25 kills and five digs for Yerington. Chloe Dane had 12 kills, 10 digs and four aces, and Jordan Bobrick had 15 digs and five kills for the Lions.

White Pine finished 25-6.

DIVISION IV

Pahranagat Valley made it a clean sweep for the four teams seeking repeat titles, beating Smith Valley, 13-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-21.

The Panthers (24-8) scored 13 consecutive points to finish the second set, then came back from 10-1 and 21-10 deficits in the third set.

“Truth is when we’ve played good teams like this we’ve been down before and we know how to come back,” Pahranagat Valley coach Ginger Whipple said. “One thing about this team is they’ve got a lot of grit.”

Smith Valley finished 29-7.

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