Whittell dynasty in place | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell dynasty in place

Jeremy Evans

LAS VEGAS – The Whittell High volleyball team viewed this past weekend’s state championships not as a leisurely experience but as an opportunity to establish a dynasty. While the concept of winning a state title is always worth getting excited about, the Warriors were more concerned about cementing their place in the history of Nevada 2A volleyball.

Mission accomplished.

Whittell bounced back from a sluggish start in the championship game to record its third straight 2A state title with a 24-26, 28-26, 25-19, 25-13 victory over Lovelock on Saturday afternoon at Canyon Springs High School. The Warriors swept Southern 2A regular season champion The Meadows 25-10, 25-13, 25-12 in the state semifinals on Friday.

“This is what we came down here to do,” said WHS coach Dan McLaughlin, whose program has won four of the past six 2A state titles. “All of our teams that won state titles wrote a piece of history for themselves. It’s the same this season. This team had a little piece of history to write.”

With juniors Kelly Karmann and Jessica Woods returning next season, the prospect of winning four state titles is a real possibility.

“That would be nice,” said Karmann, who had 10 kills and 10 blocks in the two games. “It would be something that would look good on a college application. When I joined the team as a freshman, people said we had a chance to make it to state. I never thought this would happen.”

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Besides the previous two state titles, what happened before this year’s state tournament was that Whittell finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Sierra Nevada Sports Media Poll, which includes all Northern Nevada, regardless of classification.

What also happened was a win over nationally-ranked Berkeley Prep and an undefeated record against nontournament opponents. But they certainly didn’t cruise to the 2005 state title.

In fact, the Mustangs put a serious scare into Whittell’s dynasty plans. After Lovelock’s two-point victory in the first game, the Mustangs then opened up an 8-1 lead in the second game and had Whittell frustrated.

The Warriors, though, fought back to take a 21-18 lead following two unforced errors, then the Mustangs had two game-point chances at the end.

Leading 24-23, Karmann recorded a kill to tie it at 24, and her tip later on pulled Whittell even again at 26. Woods followed with a kill and a block as the Warriors posted the narrow victory.

“Our whole thing was to come in relaxed because we were the underdog,” said Lovelock coach Shauna Bake, whose team had been swept by Whittell in four previous matches this season. “We had Whittell on the ropes. They are a very talented team, but our girls hung in there with them.”

After evening the match at one game apiece, the Warriors (30-7) calmed down, fell into their roles and reverted back to their dominating ways. Woods finished with a game-high 15 kills against Lovelock and had 23 kills in the two wins. She also contributed a combined 12 digs and nine service aces.

Senior Katrina Kacirek added 11 kills, nine digs and had all eight of her aces in the championship game. Sarah Ingenluyff, another senior, had 67 assists in the two games, while Jordan Reeder had 11 kills in the tournament and posted six blocks against The Meadows.

“It wasn’t that this game against Lovelock was harder, it’s just we knew we had to come out focused and yet we didn’t do that,” Kacirek said. “We came out overconfident. As a senior and as a captain, I kind of had to be a role model out there and lead by example.”