Woods and Karmann try for rare collection of four state championships
If it seems like Jessica Woods and Kelly Karmann are the face of Whittell athletics, that’s because they basically are. The duo has won three 2A state volleyball titles and three Northern 2A regional titles during their career with the Warriors.
In 2006, Woods and Karmann have the chance to do what no other South Shore athlete has ever accomplished: win four state titles in the same sport.
“Not only can they win four championships, they have elevated our program so it can compete on a national scale,” said WHS coach Dan McLaughlin, who has led the Warriors to four 2A state titles in the past six seasons. “Life is easy with Jess and Kelly. They are probably the two best players at their positions in Northern Nevada, if not all of Nevada. But in volleyball, somebody has to pass the ball and somebody has to set the ball before Jess and Kelly can get involved.”
Blending a new group of players with his talented tandem is the only thing that concerns McLaughlin. Fortunately for him, Woods and Karmann can team up with Jordan Reeder in leading the quest for Whittell’s fourth consecutive state title.
An all-state performer last year as a sophomore, Reeder will be the team’s starting setter but her switching positions leaves a gap on the right side of the front row. Although freshman Lauren Andrew could emerge into the team’s starting setter – a development that would allow Reeder to return to the front row – the Warriors still need to replace several key players.
Gone are Katrina Kacirek, an all-state front-row player in 2005, as well as setter Sarah Ingenluyff and defensive specialist Christina Richardson, both of which were all-league players last season.
Whittell will look toward junior Mara Humbird, freshman Jacquelyn Baines and senior Megan Esquivel to provide solid play on its front line. Senior Ashley Amaral, junior Brittany Makara and freshman Brette Harrington should provide stability on the back line as defensive specialists.
“We have to replace a lot of people, but I am happy with how a lot of the girls are maturing,” Reeder said. “It’s a high level to play at, but our team is getting better each day we come to practice. We figure that if we keep improving and compete at the 4A level, it will be that much easier at the 2A level.”
Whittell’s schedule includes five games against 4A teams and two high-caliber tournaments, including the Durango tournament in Las Vegas, where several of the nation’s top teams will compete. Last year at the Durango tournament, the Warriors defeated nationally-ranked Berkeley Prep and finished higher than any of the other Nevada 4A teams.
It’s that kind of success that has Woods bubbling with excitement about her senior year. While Woods and Karmann already hold several individual school records, winning four state titles remains the ultimate goal for last year’s Nevada 2A co-player of the year.
“We want to win four state titles, but it’s a brand new team and we’re going to have to earn it like everyone else,” Woods said. “We have a lot of new faces, but the younger ones are really excited to learn and are open minded. I would be disappointed if we don’t win state because we like to push ourselves. If we don’t win, it probably means we weren’t pushing ourselves hard enough.”
Coach: Dan McLaughlin (10th year)
2005: 30-7 (2A state champions)
Key returners: Jessica Woods, Kelly Karmann, Jordan Reeder
Key losses: Katrina Kacirek, Sarah Ingenluyff
Opener: Today at Carson
Date Opponent Time
Today Carson 6 p.m.
Sept. 6 Yerington 6 p.m.
Sept. 8-9 High Sierra invite TBA
Sept. 11 Fallon 6 p.m.
Sept. 15-16 Durango tourney TBA
Sept. 23 Lovelock 1 p.m.
Sept. 25 Incline 5 p.m.
Sept. 29 Douglas 6 p.m.
Sept. 30 Silver Stage 11 a.m.
Oct. 2 Truckee 6 p.m.
Oct. 6 Hawthorne 6 p.m.
Oct. 7 Douglas 11 a.m.
Oct. 10 Coleville 5 p.m.
Oct. 12 Reed 6 p.m.
Oct. 13 Battle Mountain (2) 3 p.m.
Oct. 14 Lovelock 11 a.m.
Oct. 17 Hawthorne 4 p.m.
Oct. 21 Silver Stage 11 a.m.
Oct. 24 North Tahoe 6 p.m.
Oct. 25 South Tahoe 6 p.m.
Nov. 4 Regionals TBA
Nov. 9-11 State TBA
Note: Home games are in bold.