New coach, same expectations for reigning five-time champs |

New coach, same expectations for reigning five-time champs

Jeremy Evans

When a program is defined by state championships and regional supremacy, a coaching change can bring feelings of trepidation. But with Tony Fathergill, there is only more excitement for the Whittell High volleyball team.

“I think we’re off to a good start, and we have a good set of a players and a coach with just as much knowledge as our old coach,” said junior Lauren Andrew, a returning all-state player. “It’s going to be a different team – and there is a different feeling in the gym right now – but it’s all positive so far.”

Fathergill, who played collegiately at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and had playing stints in various professional leagues, replaces Dan McLaughlin, who resigned last year after having been part of the WHS program since 1995.

The current director of the Pacific Coast Volleyball Camp, a San Jose-based organization founded in 1997, Fathergill inherits a team with several key players who were part of last year’s 2A state title team. Isabel Concha-Foley and Jacquelyn Baines should be dominant frontline players, while Brette Harrington was a first-team all-league back-row player for the Warriors, who have won a Nevada 2A record five straight state titles.

“Whittell has had a great tradition here at the 2A level, and I’m excited to continue having a great program and build on that,” Fathergill said. “I think we’ll still be competing for state championships. We got a lot of strong players, and we’ll be right up there when the playoffs start. We’ve got some solid returners and also some ninth- and 10th-graders that have some things to learn but will contribute this year as well.”

The players agree both coaches are knowledgeable about the game, but Concha-Foley has noticed Fathergill takes conditioning more seriously. Even when she described his coaching style she had a heavy sigh.

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“I think it’s a good that he brings a lot more conditioning, and we’re definitely off to a good start,” Concha-Foley said. “I think he gives us the motivation to believe we can win another state title, and I also think we can if we work hard enough.”

Traditional Northern 2A powers Battle Mountain and Lovelock are likely to challenge the Warriors’ regional and state supremacy, but Andrew isn’t measuring this year’s success solely by wins and losses.

“I definitely think we have the drive to do it,” Andrew said. “I haven’t seen the other teams, but I think we have the ability to compete in the 2A. I am not expecting another state championship because that’s a huge pressure to put on us, but I don’t think success will be winning that title. Success will be watching us grow as a team.”

2008 WHS Schedule

Date Opponent Time

Fri-Sat. Lowry tourney TBA

Sept. 3 Truckee 6 p.m.

Sept. 8 Douglas 6 p.m.

Sept. 13 Lovelock 1 p.m.

Sept. 16 No. Tahoe 5 p.m.

Sept. 18 Coleville 6 p.m.

Sept. 20 Silver Stage 1 p.m.

Sept. 23 Incline 5 p.m.

Sept. 30 Yerington 6 p.m.

Oct. 2 Reed 6 p.m.

Oct. 4 Hawthorne 1 p.m.

Oct. 11 Battle Mtn. (2) 2 p.m.

Oct. 14 Silver Stage 6 p.m.

Oct. 17 Lovelock 5 p.m.

Oct. 18 No. Tahoe 9 a.m.

Oct. 21 Incline 5 p.m.

Oct. 24 Dayton 6 p.m.

Oct. 25 Hawthorne 1 p.m.

Nov. 4 So. Tahoe 6 p.m.

Nov. 7 Regionals TBA

Nov. 14-15 State TBA

Note: Home games are in bold.