weather icon Mostly Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Lake Mead sweeps Pahranagat Valley to claim Southern Region 1A volleyball title

Long after Amanda Wellman’s championship-winning kill Saturday, Lake Mead coach Diana Lewis stood on the court clutching the Southern Region 1A volleyball championship trophy.

It was hard to blame her for not letting go.

“This is the first one of these we’ve gotten,” Lewis said after her Eagles downed Pahranagat Valley 25-14, 25-22, 25-14 in the title game at Desert Oasis.

Both teams had already clinched berths in the state tournament by virtue of their semifinal wins earlier in the day, but it did nothing to diminish the intensity of the title game.

Nor did it affect Lake Mead’s desire to play strong defense. Lake Mead (31-4-3) never let Paharanagat Valley get into an offensive rhythm, and when the Panthers did appear to get a good swing, there was usually an Eagle waiting to dig the ball.

“We stepped up our communication,” said sophomore outside hitter Ashley Newton, who led the Eagles with 24 digs. “We kept talking, and that really helped us. We just had to keep scrapping the whole time.”

Pahranagat Valley (22-4) managed only 26 kills and had 20 attack errors. Lake Mead had 71 digs.

“We couldn’t sustain an offense,” said Pahranagat Valley coach Ginger Whipple. “My hitters made a lot of hitting errors. Lake Mead had a great defense.”

The errors proved costly in the first game. The Panthers had six miscues during a 12-3 Lake Mead run that decided the outcome.

To make matters worse, midway through the second game the Panthers lost senior libero Molly Hansen to a right knee injury.

Without a libero, the Panthers couldn’t substitute as freely and couldn’t match up as well against Lake Mead’s hitters.

“We were hurting at that point,” said Whipple, whose team lost to Lake Mead twice in an early season tournament, but beat the Eagles in league play. “I have a very young bench.”

The Eagles led 20-19 in Game 2 before consecutive aces by Jessica Rinaldi opened up a three-point lead. Lake Mead ended the game on a kill by Heather Hillenbrand and a Pahranagat Valley error.

Pahranagat Valley jumped to a 6-2 lead in the final game, but Lake Mead rallied with a 14-5 run that included a pair of kills by Wellman, three aces and two blocks. The Eagles used another 5-0 spurt late in the game to build a 22-13 lead.

Wellman’s kill, off of Rinaldi’s 24th assist, started a celebration.

Jordan Clarke, a freshman libero, added 19 digs for the Eagles. Sam Herman had nine kills, and Newton had eight kills.

Dakota Day had 10 kills and nine blocks for Pahranagat Valley. Mary Higbee added 17 assists. Hansen, Chanae Canning and Addie Canning each had 10 digs.

Lake Mead advanced to the final with a 25-13, 25-20, 25-13 win over Tonopah in Saturday morning’s semifinals.

Wellman had 10 kills and 10 digs for the Eagles. Rinaldi dished out 26 assists, and Newton had 20 digs and seven kills.

Kristy Glover led the Muckers (21-6) with 14 kills. Kaici Hirsch added 10 digs and eight assists.

Pahranagat Valley struggled early before downing Round Mountain in the semifinals, 20-25, 25-13, 25-11, 25-18.

Day and Halie Lewis each had 14 kills. Hansen had 31 digs. Higbee added 20 assists and 18 digs, and Addie Canning had 19 assists and 14 digs.

Tana Berg had 23 assists and 10 digs for the Knights (18-9). Kattrena Akers added 26 digs and nine kills.

Both Lake Mead and Pahranagat Valley will head to Reno for the state tournament, which begins Friday.

Lake Mead will face McDermitt in one semifinal at 12:20 p.m. Pahranagat Valley will battle Owyhee in the second semifinal, at 2.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.