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Whittell begins defense of state, league crowns vs. Hawthorne

Jeremy Evans

There is little suspense for the Whittell High Warriors heading into the Northern 2A volleyball postseason. Barring a catastrophe, Whittell is expected to win the four-team regional tournament on Saturday in Zephyr Cove.

But when you’ve either advanced to the state final or won the zone tournament nine of the past 10 years, like coach Dan McLaughlin said the Warriors have, there is little reason not to expect postseason success.

“We’re very confident with where we are and why shouldn’t we be?” McLaughlin said. “Look at our record. Lovelock is the only team in this tournament that can give us much of a battle.”

Whittell (19-1) takes on Hawthorne in the first semifinal at noon at Whittell High School, while Lovelock plays Battle Mountain at 2 p.m. in the other semifinal. The two semifinal winners meet for the zone championship at 4:30 p.m., with both teams advancing to next week’s 2A state tournament at Galena High in Reno.

“It’s the zone tournament. This is what you play for, getting to the zone tournament and then onto state,” McLaughlin said. “It should be an exciting weekend. It’s going to give the community one last chance to see our girls play at home this season.”

The defending state champion Warriors easily won their regular- season meetings with the Serpents, both coming in three games. Whittell also did the same against the Mustangs, although it struggled to win the first two games in Lovelock before cruising in the third. However, Felicia Booth and her younger sister, Cassie, could pose problems for the Warriors.

“Our girls expect to do well and we’re very prepared to play this weekend,” McLaughlin said. “We want to do well. When we played at Lovelock, we didn’t play well the first two games. In the third game, we beat them in typical fashion, which is how we won when we played at our gym. Felicia is worth the price admission by herself.”

Whittell will be without Meri Johnson, who injured her wrist in cheerleading practice this week. Other than that, the Warriors look primed to make another deep postseason run. Whittell won the state title in 2000 and finished third in 2002.

Northern 2A Playoffs

Saturday at Whittell

Semifinals

Whittell (8-0) vs. Hawthorne (1-4), noon

Lovelock (6-2) vs. Battle Mountain (0-5), 2 p.m.

Championship

Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m.

Note: Top two finishers qualify for the state.

Admission: $5


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