Warriors finish season strong | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Warriors finish season strong

Although the Whittell Warriors went one-and-out at state, they finished strong, nearly defeating the state championship team in two of its three games.

The Warriors battled The Meadows Mustangs in the semifinals of the single-elimination, best-of-five Nevada 2A State Volleyball Championships at Galena High on Friday and lost in three, 15-13, 15-5, 15-13.

Hawthorne, the No. 1 seed from the North, defeated Faith Lutheran 15-8, 15-12, 15-11 in the semis and went on to lose to the Mustangs in the finals.

But it’s how the Serpents lost in the state finals and how the Warriors played in the semifinals, or first round, that makes them so proud.

The Meadows defeated Hawthorne 15-2, 13-15, 15-3, 15-6 for the 2A state championship. In the Serpents’ four games, they amassed 26 points against the Mustangs. In the Warriors three games against the Mustangs, they racked up 31 points.

It’s a small point, and it makes no difference, but the way the Warriors played makes all the difference in the world to them.

“It was very well-fought,” said WHS senior Shelly Zaskoda. “We gave them a match.”

The Warriors battled the 6-foot 3-inch senior outside hitter Kari Gregory, who was a dominant force in the Mustangs’ success.

“She was pretty intimidating,” Zaskoda said. “We took away her game at the end because we started digging her and put up a block … After a while we started to get her.”

Zaskoda led the Warriors with 10 kills, six digs, five blocks and two aces. Tina Hordzwick had six kills and Marie Peterson had four.

Jessica Rickman, who has also led the Warriors during the year, was relatively quiet statistically because she shadowed Gregory, who coaches say is on her way to the University of Hawaii for volleyball.

Rickman had three kills, as many blocks, four digs and an ace. Whittell sophomore defensive specialist Whitney Gielow also had a strong game with eight digs.

“They went out with their best and I could not be prouder or happier with how they fought,” said Warrior coach Dan McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said Mustang parents approached him later in the tournament and told him the Warriors were the toughest team in the 2A state tournament, not Hawthorne.

“It was my best game,” said WHS senior Marie Peterson. “The team was probably the hardest team we’ve ever faced. When you play a harder team, your performance increases a little bit.”

Overall, the Warriors are pleased with how they finished the season. Even the seniors are happy with how things ended.

“I think we played together really well,” Zaskoda said. “It’s sad to be leaving, but I think we went out well.”

“I think we did do our best and did perform up to our capabilities and did well against such a highly competitive team,” Peterson added. “It was fun to go to state. Our team had a lot of good times together.”

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