Five-set frustration: Whittell volleyball comes up short against Virginia City | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Five-set frustration: Whittell volleyball comes up short against Virginia City

Anthony Gentile
agentile@tahoedailytribune.com
Whittell middle hitter Jordyn Becker prepares to hit a serve against Virginia City on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Becker had eight kills in the Warriors’ 3-2 loss to the Muckers.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

ZEPHYR COVE — The Whittell volleyball team has had its last three matches go the distance, and each has resulted in a frustrating defeat. The Warriors lost to Virginia City in five sets 25-19, 13-25, 22-25, 25-23, 10-15, at home on Tuesday, Sept. 22, unable to get over the hump after forcing the do-or-die frame.

“They’re right there and they want it,” Warriors coach Terri Potter said. “Now we’re starting to see their heart.”

In the decisive fifth set, Whittell (3-8, 1-3 IV West) fell behind early and couldn’t recover. Virginia City (8-1, 3-0) opened up an 8-2 lead and maintained at least a three-point advantage the rest of the way to win the match — a kill from Chelsea Nevin sent the Warriors to defeat.

“They wanted it, but they were nervous and timid,” Warriors coach Stephanie McClendon said. “We need to learn how to be a team that is more confident in attack.”

Whittell took the opening set with a late run, closing out Virginia City with a 6-1 streak capped by an ace from middle hitter Tatum Libert. The Warriors scored seven of the first eight points, but the Muckers answered with nine in a row to set the tone for a back-and-forth frame.

“They were fired up and it was nice to see that,” McClendon said. “This is their rival, and they got their adrenaline rushing and went after it — it’s nice to know they can bring it when they want to.”

After the Warriors took the opening frame, Virginia City responded by taking the second and third sets. The Muckers opened the second frame on a 7-0 run en route to a double-digit win, and used a 6-1 spurt to break an 18-18 tie and set up match point in the third set.

“Letting the other team get more than two or three points at a time is hard to come back from,” McClendon said. “They only had a couple of them, but they hurt us.”

In the fourth set Whittell erased a 17-13 deficit with a 7-2 run, taking its first lead of the frame on a kill from opposite hitter Jordyn Becker. The Warriors didn’t surrender the lead after going ahead 20-19, and eventually forced a fifth set on a Virginia City net violation.

“We get to play them again, so we’re going keep our heads up and stay positive,” McClendon said.

Libert led Whittell with 11 kills in Tuesday’s loss to go along with four aces and two blocks. Becker finished with eight kills, setter Kelsey Kjer added three kills, and opposite hitter Aspen Kidd had a dig as part of a strong defensive performance.

For Whittell, the defeat marked a third straight five-set loss — all matches it could have won. The Warriors fell in five at Mineral County 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, 25-15, 13-15 on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and lost at Coleville 26-24, 25-23, 25-27, 18-25, 9-15 on Saturday, Sept. 19.

“We work on keeping a consistent level, and that’s one of our goals,” Potter said. “We’re going to have to achieve that, and they’re very are aware of that.”

Whittell returns to action Friday, Sept. 25, when it hosts Pyramid Lake. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m.