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Defending volleyball champs stepping up to rigorous schedule

If Whittell High School’s first eight matches are any indication, the Warriors are going to accomplish something matched by only two other volleyball programs in the state.

Even though eighth-ranked Whittell has a 3-5 record, the Warriors have stood toe-to-toe with schools nearly 10 times larger. As a result, Whittell is the favorite to win its seventh straight state championship and equal Pahranagat Valley with 12 titles – second most in state history behind Moapa Valley’s 14.

At the season-opening High Sierra Invitational in Reno, Whittell won three of seven matches, including a highly-seeded school from Cupertino, Reed and Woodcreek. Their losses were to Reno in a decisive third game, Ponderosa, Woodcreek, Pleasant Valley and Hoover.



“We served well … had diverse serving going, and we’re just really good at pursuing the ball. We’re staying in every rally,” said Whittell coach Tony Fathergill, whose team is led by 2008 all-state players Lauren Andrew and Isabel Concha-Foley. “We have a nice team and good chemistry going.”

Following the large-school tournament, Whittell dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 match at fourth-ranked Yerington. The Warriors had game point in the third game with the match squared at 1, but the Lions rallied to win by two points. Whittell came back to win the fourth game by two points, but Yerington won the decisive fifth game, 15-13.



“That was a great match,” Fathergill said. “We played a real competitive match and started clicking as a team.”

Moapa Valley and Pahranagat Valley have the state’s longest state-title streaks at 13 and nine, respectively.

“Once we get the rust off in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be fine,” Fathergill said. “We definitely have the potential to play at a high level this year, and we’re looking to expand what we started last year and reach new goals.”

After a nine-day layoff, Whittell will participate in the two-day Yerington tournament on Friday and Saturday. Douglas, Yerington and Truckee are entered. On Friday, Whittell plays Silver Stage at 2 p.m., Portola at 4 p.m. and Truckee at 6 p.m.

Local volleyball fans should mark Sept. 24 and 25 on their calendars. Whittell plays its home opener against Dayton on Sept. 24, and will meet Reed, a large Nevada 4A school, on Sept. 25 in Zephyr Cove.

Colts win tight volleyball match

South Tahoe High’s volleyball team lost three close games to Wooster in a Sierra Division match Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe.

The Colts won 27-25, 25-20 and 25-23 to hand the Vikings their second division defeat.

The Vikings were led by Terra Backinger’s nine digs and Kelsey Henderson’s five kills. Junior setter Tiffany Racz triggered the Vikings’ offense.

“She had a stellar game,” said STHS assistant Brittney Hadley.

South Tahoe (0-4 overall) plays at Bishop Manogue on Sept. 22.

Vikings gain confidence

After being shut out twice in the opening day of the Del Campo tournament on Friday, the South Tahoe High boys’ soccer team acclimated itself in the final day of action.

South Tahoe defeated Armijo 2-0, then tied Atwater, the large-school competitive division winner, 2-2, on Saturday at the Cherry Island Soccer Complex.

Junior Cody Williams scored a goal in each half in the victory over Armijo. Defender Fernando Gomez assisted on both of Williams’ goals.

In the match against Atwater, South Tahoe broke out on top 1-0 in the sixth minute when Ryan Caro scored on a cross. In the 27th minute, Juan Carlos Ubias made it 2-0 when he scored off a breakaway.

Atwater, however, regrouped at halftime to forge a tie – the only blemish on its record during the two-day tournament. A goal in the first 10 minutes and one in the final 10 minutes created the tie.

South Tahoe coach Chris DeLeon wasn’t upset about losing the two-goal lead to Atwater, a team made up entirely of Latin America and Hispanic players.

“We’re excited that we scored and disappointed in the second half that we allowed two goals,” he said. “Both teams had such a mutual respect for each other. That game was played with passion and respect. We learned that we are good enough to compete with these guys.”

DeLeon said the Vikings’ performance against Atwater was comparable to his team’s second-half showing against Wooster last Thursday. South Tahoe scored four second-half goals to beat the Colts 5-1 in their Sierra Division opener.

South Tahoe (3-3-1) resumes division play against Bishop Manogue at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Community Youth Sports Complex at South Tahoe Middle School.

“Right now Carson is the top dog, but we’ll see” DeLeon said. “The Sierra League is going to be very tough this year.”

WHS bounces back vs. Dayton

A tough weekend in the Del Campo tournament in Sacramento didn’t carry over into Whittell High School’s boys’ soccer match against Dayton on Tuesday.

T.J. Kolesnik scored two goals, and Tim Stone and Blake Werle each delivered a score as the Warriors defeated Dayton 4-2 in Zephyr Cove.

“To get a win felt nice, and it was good to play a team more of our caliber,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase. “The game was closer than it should have been. We should have really put more balls in the net.”

Simon Nikles added two assists for the Warriors. His final assist came on Whittell’s fourth goal, a cross to Stone, who one-timed the ball into the right side of the net.

“That was really a nice piece of ball movement,” Maltase said.

Whittell lost its four Del Campo tournament games by a combined score of 17-0, but did hold champion El Camino to onefirst-half goal in a 3-0 defeat. Maltase said his team was grouped with schools with enrollments larger than 2,000 students.

Whittell (4-8-1) travels to Battle Mountain on Friday and Spring Creek on Saturday.

“That will be a good test for us. It’s always tough to get on a bus for that long and then play, but we’ll see what we’re made of,” Maltase said.

Vikes suffer first tennis loss

South Tahoe took five doubles matches against Galena on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies handed the Vikings’ boys’ tennis team its first loss of the season, 12-6.

Galena only lost one singles match – Nick Kushner prevented the sweep – as the Grizzlies won the key match in Reno. South Tahoe dropped to 4-1 on the season.

“The kids played their hearts out,” said STHS coach Justin Clark.

Behind Kushner’s 7-5 singles victory, and doubles wins by Colton Marchesseault and Kolton Van Pelt and Derek Garofalos and Phillip Gaston, South Tahoe emerged from the first round of play with a 3-3 tie. But Galena only dropped one match in the second round to take control. Jordan Zager and Francisco Marin picked up the Vikings’ lone second-round victory with a convincing 6-2 doubles win. In the third round, Marchesseault/Van Pelt and Garofalos/Gaston provided South Tahoe’s wins.

STHS (4-1) plays at Incline on Thursday.

Doubles team sweeps Galena

Mariella “Krisha” Penollar and Guadalupe “Lupe” Ramirez won all three of their doubles matches, but Galena outlasted South Tahoe 11-7 in a Sierra Division girls’ tennis match Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe.

Penollar and Ramirez dropped only five games in their three sets and, in the process, defeated a previously undefeated duo who qualified for last year’s state tournament.

South Tahoe singles players Rebecca Roberts and Lindsey Martin each earned a victory, and Amanda Rives and Emily Rives beat Nicole Morro and Sheridan Ojers 6-2, and Shanon Piazzo and Angel Aquino defeated the same twosome 6-1.

The Vikings (3-2) play host to Incline on Thursday.


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