Advancing to state again was the main goal for coach Kenna Almberg and the White Pine High volleyball team when the season started in August.
And the girls accomplished that by placing second behind league champion Yerington in the tournament finals last Saturday. They advance to the state tournament, Nov. 15-16, at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas.
White Pine will play defending state champion The Meadows in the first semifinal and Yerington plays Calvary Chapel in the other. The championship match will be Saturday at noon.
Almberg said, “We had a great weekend at the division tournament in Yerington this weekend.”
On Friday, White Pine played Silver Stage, the No. 6 seed, beating them 3-1, 25-14, 20-25, 25-12, 25-17 to advance onto the semifinals against No. 2 Incline.
“This was a faster paced, action packed match,” she said. “We had adjusted our defense using our right sides to double block their middle hitters which hurt us the last time we played them [[a 3-1 loss Sept. 27].
“It was a very effective adjustment and kept them frustrated and looking for other ways to score against us. My girls really stepped it up and put in the necessary effort to secure a spot in the state tournament next week.”
The 3-1 win, 25-23, 13-25, 25-23-25-18, avenged a loss to Incline in the regional semifinals last year.
As the tournament continued, Almberg said White Pine “only had a few minutes to grab something to eat and regroup for the final championship match against [regular season champion] Yerington. They came in well rested and we really struggled to maintain the level of intensity and focus we needed to complete with this caliber of a team. We played well against them at times, but we lost 3-0.”
Scores were 16-25, 18-25, 9-25.
Heading down to Las Vegas to play at Faith Lutheran, Almberg said, “I am excited to have this chance at a state championship.”
She said, “We have had a successful season (19-6) and so much talent on the team. We will have to beat The Meadows (18-6-1), but I intend on facing Yerington again in the state finals championship match. I believe that if we play the way we played against Incline that being the state champs is a very attainable goal.”
Yerington (30-5) plays Calvary Chapel (15-6) in the other Friday semifinal.
White Pine has never won a state volleyball championship.
Almberg noted a few player highlights from the tournament:
Mia Kemmler had a solid performance throughout the tournament, bringing in a total of 32 kills, 51 digs and 3 aces between the 3 matches. Allie Thompson was right behind her with 28 kills. Setters Madison Hendrickson and Olivia Hendrix had a total of 80 assists but were also were big contributors with 4 blocks and 8 aces each and 15 kills and 51 digs combined. Karligh Romero pulled up some great digs on defense.
“It was fun to watch them play with intensity and passion. Our middle blockers Jill VanTassell and Rachael Jones controlled the net and not only blocked but slowed down a lot of the other teams hits allowing us to set it back up and answer back with an attack,” Almberg said.
She said, “I want to thank all of the parents and fans that came to support us. Our crowd was awesome and it helped so much.”