White Pine coach marvels at Whittell’s polish in semifinal
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
RENO – The more polished team won Friday’s Nevada 2A state volleyball tournament semifinal match at Galena High.
In fact, Whittell High looked more polished than a Footjoy shoe in a three-game sweep of White Pine.
With five players scoring at least five kills, the well-balanced Warriors hammered the Bobcats 25-9, 25-15 and 25-11.
“We had a case of nerves, but they just played very well,” said White Pine coach Jeff Cramer. “You can tell they play on a club team, too. They are very polished in the way they run their attack.”
Led by senior Tina Hordzwick’s eight kills and three aces and sophomore Kelly Karmann’s five kills and five stuff blocks the Warriors didn’t allow White Pine to get into any offensive flow.
“We’re a lot better than last year’s team and everyone was dead serious,” said Whittell senior Kristin Karmann.
White Pine’s passing problems, coupled with Whittell’s assortment of contributors at the net, made the outcome predictable at the outset.
“If you only have six people who can play, you’re always stressed out because you feel it is up to you to carry the team,” Kristin Karmann said. “When you have more people you can relax a little bit and say if I’m having a bad time, they can put somebody else in.”
Kelly Karmann had three kills as Whittell shot out to a 12-3 lead in the opening game. She added a block for Whittell’s 24th point and White Pines Caity Cunningham served the final point into the net.
White Pine senior Marty Chachas began to make her presence felt in Game 2. Two early kills gave the Bobcats their first lead, 3-2. But after Chachas’ kill pulled White Pine to within 6-5, the Warriors scored 14 of the following 19 points to take control 20-10. Senior setter Jackie Marino spread out the points between Hordzwick, Kelly Karmann, junior Katrina Kacirek and sophomore Jessica Woods.
A White Pine service error also ended Game 2.
In the final game, Whittell bombarded the Bobcats from a variety of different angles to take a 15-4 lead. After White Pine rallied to within 18-8, Hordzwick delivered a pair of kills and senior Anna Kingman added one to set up Sydney Colvin’s match-clinching kill.
Whittell’s multi-dimensional attack saw Kacirek contribute five kills and an ace; Marino deliver five kills, an ace and a block; Woods earn six kills and two aces; and senior Anna Kingman collect three kills.
“We’re kind of, to softball, like they are to volleyball,” said Cramer, who also coaches the school’s softball team. “I’m used to that kind of communication but just not in volleyball.”
Marino kept the Bobcats off balance by disguising her sets to Woods and Kelly Karmann and picking spots to deliver her own points.
“They didn’t know where she was setting the ball. They knew they had to worry about Kelly and Katrina, so that allows her to push the ball to anybody,” said Whittell coach Dan McLaughlin.
One thing that Bobcats had going for them was Whittell’s unfamiliarity with their program, which was making their first state appearance in 10 years.
“We were a little worried because we didn’t know who we were going about against, but we were confident that we would play our game against them,” Woods said.
McLaughlin’s mind was put to ease after watching Lovelock sweep Needles in the preceding semifinal. Whittell had beaten the Mustangs three times before Saturday’s state final.
“I knew there was no way in the world White Pine could beat us,” McLaughlin said. “I know what we have. The only team that can beat us is us. We had no fear. We know we can play with anybody.”