Warriors spikers finish fourth at state
Some observers didn’t give the Whittell High volleyball team a chance of surviving past the first day in the Nevada 3A state tournament. The Warriors showed they belong with the state’s elite teams with their 3A best fourth-place finish in Las Vegas.
“We were one of the underdog teams, so it was really nice to show people we could get it done,” said Whittell senior Erin Zaskoda. “We could have wound up third just as easily, but I’m really satisfied that I ended up my senior season on that type of note.”
Added Whittell junior setter Carlye Johnson, “We were all really excited to make it to state, and everyone was really happy with how we did.”
Their coach, Dan McLaughlin, couldn’t have been prouder.
“Look at all the things they had to overcome – lack of gym time and injuries. It was a remarkable feat,” McLaughlin said. “It’s astounding that they held together and went as far as they did.”
If the Warriors could have somehow avoided nemesis North Tahoe, they might have brought home a third-place trophy. The Lakers’ fourth victory over Whittell this season, including two at state, eliminated the Warriors’ state run on Friday.
North Tahoe squeezed out a 15-11, 14-16, 15-7 triumph and eventually finished third.
“It was frustrating because they are a really good team. It would have been nice to beat them,” Johnson said.
Passing mistakes prevented Whittell from carrying over the momentum of a tight second-game victory into the deciding third game.
“We fell a part a little bit, but they were playing tough, too,” Zaskoda said.
After splitting matches against North Tahoe and Battle Mountain on Thursday, Whittell showed plenty of fight in Friday’s elimination rounds.
The Warriors outlasted Boulder City, 15-10, 12-15, 17-15, to earn another shot at North Tahoe.
“The last thing Boulder City expected was to lose to us,” McLaughlin said. “We stayed very intense, very focused and played one of our bet matches of the year.”
“We were really pumped because last year Boulder City gave us one of our state losses and they finished third,” said Zaskoda, who collected 38 kills, 33 service points, 17 digs, 14 blocks and 10 aces in four tournament matches. “We knew this was the end of our season, so we went out there and gave a little extra.”
Other Warrior stat-sheet stuffers included: Shannon McGlothlin, 32 kills, 20 service points and seven aces; Ashley Berns, 18 service points, 13 kills, nine blocks and seven aces; Jaime Borge, nine kills, 16 points, six aces and five blocks; Johnson, four kills, 14 service points, 98 assists and three aces; Jessika Purdy, 22 service points and three aces; Danielle Cronis, two blocks and two kills; and Jahna Rico, 12 service points and two aces.
Moapa Valley captured its ninth straight 3A-2A title, while Division II champion Hawthorne finished runner-up. Whittell ended the season with a 22-12 record.
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