With one of her top players sidelined by an injury, The Meadows girls volleyball coach Stephanie Heller needed someone to step up and fill the void Saturday.
Senior outside hitter Jackie Lipkowitz was happy to oblige, as she logged 17 kills, eight digs and three aces to lead the Mustangs to a 25-19, 25-11, 28-26 victory over Lake Mead in the title game of the Class 2A Southern League championship at The Meadows.
The win lifted the Mustangs into the state tournament, where they will play as the No. 1 seed against Whittell in a 3 p.m. match Friday at Bishop Manogue.
Despite Saturday’s loss, the Eagles also advanced as the second seed and will play Yerington on Friday at 4:40.
“I found out on Tuesday that (blocks and kills leader) Kathryn Chakmak was not going to be playing,” Heller said. “She injured her hand in a fluke accident.”
But Lipkowitz put her coach’s nerves to rest in a hurry, recording four straight kills to start the first game and helping The Meadows grab a 1-0 lead.
“Kathryn’s got a broken hand, so I knew we would all have to work harder tonight,” said Lipkowitz, whose team defeated Lincoln County 3-1 in the semifinals earlier Saturday to advance to the title match. “I know it pushed me to work harder than I’ve ever worked before.”
But the Mustangs also got help from Calvary Chapel, which lost a five-game match to Lake Mead in the semifinals.
“That was a break for us,” said Heller, whose squad was able to rest for two hours while the Eagles were rallying from a 2-0 deficit on the court. “We warmed up in the other gym, then came over to watch the end of that match. It gave us a chance to see what they were doing offensively.”
Lake Mead came out lethargic to start the second game, and The Meadows took advantage by cruising to a 2-0 lead.
But Heather Hillenbrand had a big third set for the Eagles, who pushed it to set point at 24-23 and again at 26-25. Back-to-back hitting errors, however, cost Lake Mead the lead, and the Mustangs were able to celebrate when Tessa McQuillan’s kill attempt went into the net.
Heller said she was not surprised to see her team fight back.
“We play situational games where we’re down four, five or six points,” she said. “We practice that.”
Alex Hall helped The Meadows with 16 kills and 15 digs. Teammate Vanessa Hall added 32 assists and seven digs.
Ashley Newton had 17 kills and three blocks to lead Lake Mead. Hillenbrand added nine kills.
Pahranagat Valley’s girls volleyball team lost to Tonopah in its sixth match of the season. Halie Lewis made sure the Panthers avenged that setback.
Lewis had 10 kills to lead defending state champion Pahranagat Valley to the Class 1A Southern League title with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 sweep of the Muckers at Sunrise Mountain. Both teams advanced to next week’s state tournament in Reno.
“They beat us in preseason. We didn’t want to give them another game,” said Lewis, whose team also beat Tonopah (31-6) in league play.
Pahranagat Valley added a state trophy to the case in Alamo last year but missed the 1A Southern League title with a loss to Lake Mead in the final match.
Britney Klapper led Tonopah with 14 assists and two aces, and Sam Kimber added five kills. Amanda O’Donnell supplied four kills for the Muckers.
Last year’s 1A state final was a rematch of the Southern League title match, and Lewis hopes this year will be the same.
“I know Tonopah will be back, ready to play us in state,” Lewis said. “They’re that kind of team.”In-depth high school sports coverage