By Dave Maxwell
Pahranagat Valley advanced to the state title match for a record 22nd consecutive year and did not come away disappointed as they knocked off Owyhee in straight sets 3-0 on Saturday at Damonte Ranch High in Reno 25-19, 25-14, 25-13.
Madison Harris had 11 kills and four aces as Pahranagat Valley increased their state record 18th 1A state title since 1985, well ahead now of Moapa Valley’s 14 titles. “It never gets old,” Panthers coach Ginger Whipple said. “It’s a cliché, but really it doesn’t, because they’re different groups every year, and you want it as bad for every girl.”
Karley Whipple, the coach’s granddaughter, added nine kills, Allyse Frehner had 21 assists and Morgan Harris had 13 assists for Pahranagat Valley (23-6).
Kaira Egan had 10 kills to lead Owyhee, and Destiny Sky Pete had 13 assists for the Braves (16-4-1).
Since 2000, the Lady Panthers have won the championship 13 times, five of the last seven and three of the past four. They beat Owyhee in the 2015 state semifinal match. The Leopards last title was in 2006.
But there were still areas that needed improvement, coach Whipple said. “Hits weren’t as consisted as I wanted. But we’ve been to state 22 years in a row (and in the championship game each year), so we have some kind of tradition, and these girls know how to finish.”
Owyhee beat Beatty (18-5) in the semifinals on Friday 25-11, 25-20, 18-25, 25-21.
On Friday, Pahranagat Valley played Wells in the other semifinal. The teams played even in the first set, matching one another point for point until about the 15th point, then the Panthers outscored the Leopards 10-4. It was the closest set of the match.
Wells coach Cody Kulinsky said, “Alamo had strong hits from the middle and the outside (junior Karley Whipple). When we dug it up, it made it hard to have a perfect pass for a lot of quick sets.”
Wells changed its defensive strategy to protect the middle of the floor from Pahranagat Valley’s tips and shanked balls off of the Lady Leopards’ blocks, but in the long run, the Lady Leopards were unable to completely solve the Pahranagat riddle.
PVHS then eased to a 25-14 victory in the second set and eliminated Wells with a 25-13 win in the third frame.