Warriors place high in High Sierra tourney | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Warriors place high in High Sierra tourney

Paul Andrew

The Whittell High volleyball team had a successful weekend against some of the top teams on the West Coast at the High Sierra Invitational in Reno. The Warriors earned their way into the final eight of the 40-team tournament, with many heart-wrenching victories along the way.

With Kelly Karmann nursing a sore right shoulder, the star senior was forced to hit all of her spikes left-handed. Despite the handicap, Whittell was able to pull together for a 6-2 tournament record against much larger schools.

“I think we’re still learning how to play together as a team,” said WHS coach Dan McLaughlin. “I think we’re still finding our identity. We know we’re good and we know we have good players, but we haven’t gotten to that point where we completely trust each other. Having said that, we still had a pretty good tournament.”

In pool play on Friday, the Warriors defeated Sonora, Del Norte and Enterprise High Schools, winning each match in two-game sweeps. Seniors Jessica Woods and Megan Esquivel led in all three games with dominating net play, while Brittany Makara and Ashley Amaral each played stellar defense in the wins.

On Saturday, Whittell advanced to the winner’s pool, where even more challenging opponents awaited. In the first match, the Warriors split the first two games with Faith Lutheran before edging out the final game 15-9 behind the serving of Jordan Reeder.

The following match was another close battle against Franklin High School, which lost to Whittell in three games, 25-22, 21-25 and 15-12. Kendra Koskin had numerous dominating spikes from her left-side position, and freshman Lauren Andrew had several key blocks.

The Warriors undefeated streak came to an end against Yuba City, which swept Whittell 25-18, 25-16. The Warriors then started single-elimination play against county rival Douglas High. The Tigers gave the Warriors all they could handle before the Warriors pulled out a 25-22, 23-25, 15-7 victory.

The next round found the Warriors up against Ashland (Ore.) High School. Although Whittell wound up losing, it forced a third game against the Grizzlies before finally succumbing to the highly-ranked team from southern Oregon. Ashland went on to beat Nevada Union in the semifinals.

Brette Harrington played well defensively for Whittell, with fellow freshman Jacquelyn Baines contributing with several key service points. Shortly after the last game, Woods was named to the all-tournament team for her dominant play.

Woods had 69 kills in the six games and added 36 digs, 14 aces and 10 blocks. Despite being hampered with a shoulder injury, Karmann contributed 19 kills, 39 blocks and 25 digs. Koskin recorded 37 kills and 14 digs, while Reeder added 147 assists and 18 blocks and Esquivel 12 kills and 12 blocks.

As a team, the Warriors averaged more than 10 blocks per game. Whittell (8-2) hosts Fallon tonight at 6 p.m. in Zephyr Cove.

Vikings go 3-5 in Reno

The South Tahoe volleyball team struggled through a difficult pool on Friday at the High Sierra Invitational, then posted a 3-2 record on Saturday at the Galena-hosted tournament.

The Vikings (4-6) lost to Golden Valley in three games on Friday, then Notre Dame of Belmont and Ripon swept the Vikings in two games later that day.

On Saturday, South Tahoe lost to Turlock in two games, then swept Paradise 25-13, 25-15, Shasta 25-18, 25-21 and Live Oak 25-11, 25-15. Reed, a Northern 4A High Desert League member, ended the Vikings’ tourmament run with a 25-13, 25-18 victory.

South Tahoe hosts Damonte Ranch on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Sierra League opener for both teams, then plays at Reno on Thursday.

Tribune sportswriter Jeremy Evans contributed to this report.

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