Pahranagat Valley girls volleyball opened the season with the visiting Wells Leopards Aug. 29, and took the match 3-0. Scores were 25-9, 25-9, 25-16.

Traci Strong returns service in Pahranagat Valley’s season opening match with Wells. The Panther girls won the match 3-0. This week they play at the Pahrump Invitational on Saturday. (Dave Maxwell photo)

Pahranagat Valley girls volleyball opened the season with the visiting Wells Leopards Aug. 29, and took the match 3-0. Scores were 25-9, 25-9, 25-16.

It marked the first time Wells and Pahranagat Valley have played each other in non-tournament action at least since 2005.

“I was pleased with the team work,” said coach Ginger Whipple. “My hitters had about six kills apiece, so that is pretty good representation. I think their timing is a little more on this year and that comes with experience.”

The main core of the team are the four seniors: Cheyenne Harris, and three players who were First Team All-Southern League last year, Traci Strong, Bailee Hosier and Kennedy Huntsman.

“We are trying to train a new setter,” Whipple said. Working with junior Merinna Scott and sophomore Brook Higbee, “and we gave them lots of touches.”

She added, “Higbee is also one of our hitters, so in the offense we have, we have her setting from the back row, so the front row setter can swing. It’s some new stuff we haven’t done for a while. Our girls did not like losing the (Division IV) championship last year to Tonopah, so they have focused on regaining that title.”

However, the Panther girls have done incredibly well at winning titles in the past, having been in the state finals 18 years in a row and winning 14 times.

“Kennedy (Huntsman) is the glue of the team,” Whipple said. “She has set for us all four years and done a good job. She had nine aces and 15 assists, which is really tremendous.”

Hosier added six kills and five aces, and Traci Strong had six kills for the Panthers.

Pahranagat hosted in-county rival Lincoln County on Tuesday this week and beat them 3-1. Scores were 17-25, 25-11, 25-23, 25-19.

Lincoln won the JV match 3-0.

Full coverage will appear in next week’s issue, along with coverage of Pahranagat Valley participating in the Pahrump Invitational this weekend. Pahranagat Valley plays at Virgin Valley Sept. 10.