By Dave Maxwell
Special to The Ely Times
For the third straight year, the White Pine Lady Bobcats have advanced to the 2A state volleyball tournament. It will be held this Friday in Sparks, then on Saturday shift to Damonte Ranch in south Reno.
“We are excited for the opportunity,” said coach Kenna Almberg. “Third straight time, after a 10-year dry spell.”
In the 2A Northern Regionals at Fernley last week, White Pine topped Incline 3-0 on scores of 25-17, 25-23, 25-23. “We had a decent match with Incline, not one of our best, but glad to get it done in three.”
In the finals, White Pine faced No. 1 Yerington, and the Lions prevailed in straight sets 17-25, 18-25, 13-25. “Yerington showed their strength, and we showed our weaknesses,” Almberg said. You put that combination together and it doesn’t work out.”
Our confidence was down. We know we have the ability. Our serve/receive struggled, our defense was not nearly as good as it has been over the past few weeks. Our blocking wasn’t as good as it normally is.”
She noted that the Lions seem to go to senior setter Ashley Rife all the time. They center their offense around her and she is a pretty strong player.”
In the meantime, Almberg pointed out that White Pine’s Kendra Thompson, a junior setter, who is a really strong player for me. She doesn’t get down, very consistent and a great attitude. A very important piece to our puzzle.”
At state this Friday the Cats (31-3-1) will face Calvary Chapel, No. 1 from the 2A Southern League.
White Pine and Calvary used to play regularly when the Bobcats were part of the Southern League. They are 6-2 against Calvary since 2008. The teams split in their meetings in 2015. Calvary did not make it out of regionals last year, but have put together a 27-5 record and a 16-match win streak this season.
“They are a lot like Yerington,” Almberg said, “and I expect it will be equal competition. We haven’t played them yet this season and we have that mental edge of our edge in the series.”
Yerington (28-7), three-time defending state champion and on a 19-game win streak, plays The Meadows (26-10) in the other semifinal.
The championship is Saturday at 4 p.m. at Damonte Ranch.