Whittell volleyball easily wins zone, now eyes state championship
By Paul Andrew
Special to the Tribune
ZEPHYR COVE – The Whittell High volleyball team won the Northern 2A Regional Tournament in dominating fashion on Saturday, sweeping both Hawthorne and Lovelock to earn their second consecutive zone title.
Led by seniors Sydney Colvin, Whitney Gielow, Tina Hordzwick, Kristin Karmann, Anna Kingman, Megan Lowe and Jackie Marino, the Warriors used an efficient defense and devastating offense in improving their overall record to 21-1.
In the semifinals against Hawthorne, Whittell started the game with 14 straight points behind the serving of Katrina Kacirek. The strong net play of sophomores Kelly Karmann and Jessica Woods helped the Warriors cruise to a 25-10 victory. In the second game, Whittell used all its substitutes in a 25-14 win. In the third game, the Serpents opened a 5-2 lead before the Warriors reeled off 10 straight points. Playing with a sprained wrist, junior Meri Johnson had a key block, and then senior Megan Lowe scored the winning point in a 25-12 victory.
“We made sure everyone got in,” said Whittell coach Dan McLaughlin.
The championship match against rival Lovelock, led by Iowa-bound senior Felicia Booth, started out as the intense battle that everyone expected. The first game was fast-paced as both teams traded points after long rallies. Some uncharacteristic misses from the Warriors resulted in a 12-12 tie before Whittell ran off five straight points, helped by kills from Woods and Karmann, as well as the accurate setting of Jackie Marino. Tina Hordzwick finished the first game with a stellar net play as the Warriors posted a 25-17 win.
In the second game, Whittell played flawless defense in shutting down the Mustangs, and its offense played with power and accuracy in an efficient 25-16 win. The Warriors were hitting on all cylinders in the third game. Kingman’s accurate serves and Woods’ vicious spikes led to Whittell completing the sweep with a 25-15 win.
“We’re a better team than last year,” said a confident Woods.
“We’re taking state,” added Christina Richardson. “We’re prepared and confident.”
As the Warriors head into the state tournament next weekend at Galena High School in Reno, expectations remain high. In the state semifinals, Whittell plays White Pine at 1:45 p.m. on Friday. The Mustangs, the north’s No. 2 seed, plays Needles in the other semifinal at 12:15 p.m.
“This team is confident, not cocky,” said McLaughlin, whose team will be chasing a second straight 2A state title. “We have the same girls as last year, with more experience.”