Special to The Ely Times
When a team loses eight seniors to graduation, like White Pine girls volleyball did, coaches might often think a program has to start over.
Not so veteran Ladycat coach Kenna Almberg.
“Although I only have two returning senior players, Madi Rick and Alison Thompson, I do have some good talent on the team this year, and it’s going to be a whole different dynamic,” she said.
Almberg enters her 12th year as coach, and last year the girls were 27-6, 11-3 in league, placed second in regular season and league tournament to Yerington, then lost 3-1 to eventual state champion The Meadows in the state semifinals.
The girls have enjoyed at least 20-win seasons each year since 2013.
Almberg admits that though the team is young with only the two seniors.
“We know we face a bit of challenge in getting everyone into the right positions,” she said. “I don’t think we are going to have to change too much, other than just learning how to play together as a unit because some of the younger players will be in different positions than they had been on JV.”
She said in the preseason camp this month, “We had recently I’ve seen some things really come together and I’m excited about the potential of some of these players.”
Looking at the 2A Northern League, Yerington is the five-time defending champion. “It will be pretty stable,” Almberg said, “with some of the top teams, like Yerington being strong again. Pershing County will have some younger kids that should help make them consistent. Battle Mountain will be in the mix also under their veteran coach. Overall, in the 2A, I think defending state champion The Meadows will be team to beat.”
White Pine opens the season with their own home tournament Aug. 24-25, a round-robin, seven-team affair including West Wendover, Battle Mountain, Tonopah, Eureka, Lincoln County and Wendover, Utah.
“We haven’t played Wendover, Utah, in over 10 years,” Almberg said.
Over the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, White Pine plays in the Battle Mountain tournament.