By Scott Gulbransen
Special to The Ely Times
White Pine high’s volleyball team (27-5) lost its bid for the NIAA 2A Northern Girls Volleyball Championship losing in three-straight games (25-17, 25-15, 25-19) to No. 1 seed Yerington at the tournament last weekend in Fernley.
White Pine had entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed overall.
After a first-round bye, the Ladycats downed Incline 3-1, setting up the championship game with the Lions. Yerington reached the championship round by sweeping North Tahoe 3-0.
White Pine junior Madison Rick led the Ladycats with 10 kills and senior Nina Lopez added a team high 26 digs in the loss.
“It’s always tough to get over a loss like that in a championship match,” said Coach Kenna Almberg. “Our defense struggled and we just didn’t bring home the win.”
The Ladycats won’t have much time to think about the one that got away as they begin the 2017 NIAA 2A Girls Volleyball Playoffs Friday in Ely vs. Las Vegas’ Meadows school (26-3-1) on Friday.
The Mustangs are led by junior outside hitter Dani Mason. Mason led Meadows with 225 kills on the season and should present a stout challenge for the Lady Cats. The Mustangs won the NIAA 2A Southern Girls Championship with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-16) win over Calvary Chapel Christian on November 4. Meadows enters the State Championship tournament winners of six of their last seven matches. In that championship game last week, Mason again led the way for the Mustangs notching 18 kills and 15 digs.
“We haven’t had the luxury of playing them in tournaments or seeing them much at all,” Almberg said. “At the same time, I think that’s good for us. Sometimes having a faceless opponent helps you focus more and puts the girls at ease.”
What are the keys for White Pine to get past The Meadows school setting up a possible rematch with Yerington?
“It’s pretty simple,” Almberg said. “We need to execute our offense like I know we can and make sure our defense is up to the task. We’re going to go right at them and come Saturday we can get another shot at Yerington.”
The Meadows school dominated I league play the entire season finishing a perfect 16-0. The teams faced two common opponents – Lincoln County and Pahranagat Valley. White Pine split their two matches against Pharanagat Valley, defeating Lincoln County in their only meeting. The Mustangs bested both schools beating each twice. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.
The Ladycats face The Meadows school at 2 p.m. Friday at Faith Lutheran high school in Las Vegas. The winner of the match will face either Yerington or Calvary Chapel Christian in the 2A State Championship game at 10am on Saturday in Las Vegas.