Ladycats come from behind to defeat Lincoln to take first place
White Pine High School coach Kenna Almberg had a big smile on her face for most of the White Pine Invitational on Aug. 28-29. She had plenty of reasons to. Her veteran team was picking up right where they left off last year, stringing together impressive pass-set-kill combinations to lead their way to consecutive victories.
There was some rust still left to be shaken off, from dialing in spikes that were sailing out of bounds to the occasional hitting a serve into the net for a free point to the opposing team. But overall, it was performance after performance worth smiling about, especially from the athletes the coach expects to lead the team this season.
“Debra Kingston had a great tournament. She had one section where she scored three straight points that ended up making a huge difference in the game,” Almberg said. She also heaped praise onto several of the other varsity starters, from Ashlyn Huntington to Jenna Gubler.
The Ladycats faced their stiffest competition of the tournament in the Lady Linx of Lincoln County High School in the tournament final. After winning most of their games leading into the final handily, the Ladycats had to recover from a game one loss to the Linx.
“We made some mistakes, and even though we were hitting the ball hard, we weren’t getting it in bounds enough,” the coach said of the surprising loss.
But the Ladycats fought back, finding better digs and kills in game two, forcing the shortened tie-breaking game three, a match that is only played to 15 points.
The Ladycats won 15-10, backed by the combined cheers of both the junior varsity White Pine team and that of West Wendovers. Almberg said that the loud cheers of the two squads helped sustain the varsity team with enough energy to take the deciding game 15-10.
“It was great to be in the gym and hearing the cheers from all the girls, even those from West Wendover. A lot of our girls have friends there and it’s always fun for them to be able to see each other and their support really helped the team,” she continued.
The tournament served as the Ladycats sole opportunity to get into regular season form as they head into their first game of the season this weekend at Laughlin on Sept. 4.
Almberg said that while Laughlin hasn’t proved to be the biggest threat in seasons past, there is no reason for the Ladycats to start the season cocky. The team could run into a little bit of trouble at the setter position, as the starting two setters on the team will be unavailable to play in this week’s game for personal reasons.
The team will then head to Lincoln for a rematch on Sept. 11.