Whittell Warriors take volleyball title
RENO – After years of disappointing performances at the state tournaments, the Whittell Warriors’ volleyball team can call itself Nevada State Champions for the first time since 1986.
“We’ve been working for this since our freshman year,” senior setter Carlye Johnson said.
The Warriors, whose last title was in the single A division, won the 2A tournament at Galena High School in convincing fashion. After a tough first round win over defending state champs The Meadows, Whittell breezed past Battle Mountain on Friday to set a zone championship rematch with league rival Hawthorne.
The two schools met five different times throughout the regular and post season with the Warriors winning four, including the title matches for both zone and state.
The only time the Serpents got the better of the Warriors was on Halloween night in the final game of the regular season.
“They got us last time, but even then we were still serving game point,” Warrior coach Dan McLaughlin said. “So we knew we were a much better team than they were.”
It showed who the better team was on Saturday as the Warriors overcame early game jitters to dominate the Serpents en route to the win.
The Warriors saw themselves down 3-0 when senior Joeleene Brinkley told her team to settle down and play their kind of volleyball.
“That’s the senior leadership you can’t replace,” McLaughlin said.
Whittell’s offense shifted into second gear and won the first game 15-8. But, it was the second game where the Warriors showed how good they really are.
Junior Jessika Purdy, who won the match against The Meadows with her serving, ran 12 straight points – including three aces – before the Serpents could get a sideout.
Hawthorne managed two points, but the Warriors ended the game the way they began with Purdy’s getting the match point on her serve to secure the title.
“This was her big run,” McLaughlin said. “She saved the best for last.”
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