Warriors, Vikings ready to bump up the volume in volleyball rivalry
Both coaches are downplaying the significance of the second annual South Tahoe-Whittell volleyball match, referring to Wednesday’s border school showdown as a “fun” match. But with local bragging rights at stake the budding rivalry should pump up the volume in Whittell High gym’s in Zephyr Cove.
“It’s a meaningless match to us. It doesn’t count at all toward our standings,” said STHS coach Gary Hankoff. “More than anything, I look at it as a good time.
“In past years the schools haven’t wanted to play each other. I have nothing to prove. They have a good program, and it will be fun to play them.”
Whittell coach Dan McLaughlin sees the match in a similar light.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie between the two schools. This is a good, friendly rivalry between two people who want to play each other,” McLaughlin, whose squad lost to the Vikings last year at STHS.
Most of all, it’s a golden opportunity for Nevada Class 2A Whittell to slay 4A South Tahoe.
“They don’t want to lose to a 2A school and we want to beat a 4A school,” Dan McLaughlin said. “We want to say we’re as good as South Tahoe.”
Glancing at Whittell’s gaudy 18-4 record, which includes wins over 4A and 3A schools, an upset is definite possibility.
“I don’t know anything about Whittell because I haven’t seen them play,” Hankoff said. “At the lower levels in Nevada it’s usually a bit slower of a game. We’re not going to overpower Whittell by any means, but they might be surprised at the pace we play.”
The Vikings, 6-7, have picked up their pace in recent weeks to vault into fourth place in the Sierra Division standings. The top four teams advance to the zone tournament.
“I’m just happy because we have been playing better than we have been,” Hankoff said.
McLaughlin’s Warriors have been humming since the season started and lead the 2A Northern Division with a 4-0 record. What the Warriors lack in size, they make up with a varied attack led by senior outside hitter Shannon McGlothlin, senior setter Carlye Johnson and senior middle blocker Joeleene Brinkley. Serving has been a Warrior forte throughout the season.
South Tahoe, on the other hand, counters with hitter Jessica Dilegame, setter Jessica Urreaga and front-line hitter/blocker Rachel Hankoff.
“We’re very short and our game doesn’t involve much blocking at all,” Gary Hankoff said. “Our defense tends to keep us in games, and whether we win depends on if we sideout.”
The Vikings agreed to the match during a critical week of play which has them visiting fifth-place Wooster on Tuesday and first-place Carson on Thursday.
“The only downside to it because we have two very important matches this week,” Gary Hankoff said. “But it’s like a home match, and we don’t have to do any work for it. All they need to do is show up and play volleyball.”
The rivals from different sides of the state line begin trading spikes with the JV match at 5 p.m. The varsity match follows at approximately 6 p.m.
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