Updated November 13, 2021 - 7:42 pm
Bishop Gorman turned the first Class 5A girls state volleyball championship match into a coronation Saturday at Faith Lutheran.
The Gaels needed about an hour to dispatch Centennial, 25-16, 25-14, 25-8, for their third consecutive state title and fourth in five years.
“For the last couple weeks, all we’ve been saying is we’re just going to be us,” Gorman coach Gregg Nunley said. “We’re not going to change anything. We’re a faster style of play, and when we all do our jobs, that’s all we need to worry about.”
Sophia Ewalefo had 21 kills and Leilia Toailoa 20 for Gorman, which also received 48 assists from Caroline Edgeworth and 27 digs from Tatum Thompson.
The Gaels (31-6) started slowly in the first set, but went on a run through the middle portion to pull away. There was never any doubt in the second and third sets, as Gorman pushed ahead early and kept building the margin throughout.
It was the third state title in three tries for the Gorman seniors, who missed out on a chance when last season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It definitely feels a little different because this is my last game, so it was a little more emotional,” Edgeworth said. “All in all, it’s the same amazing feeling every time, and I just love playing this sport.”
Centennial (14-22) finished fourth in the 5A Mountain League but rebounded to reach the regional and state finals.
“I’m just really proud of them. In our league play, nobody expected much of us,” Centennial coach Kendalyn Hartsock said. “I knew what we were capable of. We brought it at times. Today we didn’t, but that’s OK. I’m happy we got better, and I’m excited for next season.”
Rancho 3, Liberty 1 — At Faith Lutheran, Leah Miller had 17 kills and 11 digs, and the Rams rallied to win the program’s first state championship since 1987, 14-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-21.
The turning p0int was the third set, when Rancho (24-4) came back from an eight-point deficit. In the fourth, the Rams took control early and got to match point with three straight kills by Gabriella Fernandez, who finished with 10, before Jan Duhaylungsod finished it off with a kill.
“That first set it was nerves and seeing how Liberty was going to play,” Rancho coach Amanda Weber said. “We had to make a few adjustments, and my ladies did. They pulled through, and I’m so happy right now.”
Angelina Robles led the Rams with 21 digs and four aces. Brooklyn Slater had 20 kills to lead Liberty (30-11), which was denied its first state championship.
Truckee 3, Fernley 1 — At Hug, the Wolverines claimed their fifth state title and first since 2016 with a 25-16, 25-11, 28-25, 25-19 win.
The Meadows 3, Lake Mead 0 — At Faith Lutheran, Adaora Ezeanolue had 11 kills and five total blocks, and the Mustangs beat the Eagles 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 for the state title, the school’s seventh.
The Meadows (25-2) also received 10 digs from Maeson Peshina and 23 assists from Mac Gross. Lake Mead finished 17-7.
Smith Valley 3, GV Christian 1 — At Hug, the Bulldogs denied the Guardians (24-12) their first state title with a 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19 win.