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Lake Mead, Pahranagat win state semifinal matches

RENO — No nerves. No worries. Just a nice quick win and time to prepare for a state championship match.

Lake Mead’s girls put on a clinic at Damonte Ranch on Friday in the Class 1A volleyball state semifinals, routing McDermitt, 25-12, 25-16, 25-12. The Eagles (32-4-3), who lost to Owyhee in the state semifinals the last two years, will face Pahranagat Valley for the title Saturday at noon.

"They weren’t nervous at all," said Lake Mead coach Diana Lewis. "They were just excited about playing, and they just wanted to go out there and get it done."

Jessica Rinaldi dished out 18 assists as the Eagles’ offense clicked to near-perfection. Ashley Newton had 16 kills for Lake Mead. Amanda Wellman added five kills, seven aces and seven digs.

"I don’t think they were expecting the hits from Amanda and Ashley," Lewis said. "Our offense was very good, and our defense was right there."

Jocelyn Cox added four aces and three kills as McDermitt had trouble handling Lake Mead’s serves.

Jordan Clarke had five digs for Lake Mead, which has never won a state volleyball title.

"This was huge for us," Lewis said. "It’s definitely a spot we want to be in."

When the Eagles look across the court Saturday, they’ll see a very familiar foe in the Panthers. The teams have met four times already this year with Lake Mead winning three, including the most recent meeting, last week in the Southern Region final.

“We’ve been here a lot and we’ve always played well,” Pahranagat Valley coach Ginger Whipple said. “But (Lake Mead) has also been here and they know us and we know them, so it’s just going to be a matter of who plays better.”

Pahranagat Valley advanced to the title match by defeating Owyhee, 25-19, 25-10, 25-23 in a rematch of last year’s state championship match, won by the Panthers.

The Panthers have won 11 of the past 13 1A state championships. Even so, Whipple already had one eye on the future.

“In that third (set) I wanted to get some girls some experience playing (at state),” Whipple said. “We had a lot of miscues, but that’s volleyball.”

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