Pahranagat Valley volleyball had their first home matches of the season yesterday with Virgin Valley.
They played their first games of the season last week, beating Sunrise Mountain 3-0. “It wasn’t very good,” said coach Ginger Whipple. “They (Sunrise) just couldn’t return serve or score points.” PVHS won easily 25-7, 25-7, 25-10.
The Lady Panthers didn’t get to play at the White Pine tournament as hoped at the end of August because of a scheduling mixup, but do have a non-league match with White Pine in Alamo Oct. 20.
With Lund dropping out of the Southern Division IV league this season because of not having enough players to field a team, Whipple said most teams probably will not be able to fill that hole, “because your schedule has already been set, and for us to try to go back and pick up a worthwhile game is almost impossible.”
This weekend the girls play in the Lake Mead Fall Classic in Henderson. For a number of years this was a very good tournament, with strong competition, but Whipple said recently it has turned into more of a JV-like tournament.
Expected to compete are PVHS, Lake Mead, Calvary Chapel, (but maybe just the JV team), Somerset, Liberty Baptist, and Word of Life. Whipple said she did not think the competition level would be as strong as in past years.
“However,” Whipple said, “it does give me opportunity to play some of my younger players, which is good that way.” Pahranagat plays three matches on Friday and one or two more on Saturday.
Looking at the Panther team, “our defense looks pretty tight and scrappy this year,” she said. “Their serves are pretty consistent, but we still have work to do. Our two hitters are junior Madison Harris and sophomore Karley Whipple. Brook Higbee, our only senior, is doing well, stepping into the leadership role and adjusting to her new position of libero. She is learning what balls to take and what balls not to take.”
Whipple said freshmen Sarah Back and Morgan Harris, and sophomore Rachel Bunker will play some on varsity as well as JV. “They will fill in for us and get some valuable experience and are learning quickly.”
The Lady Panthers are the two-time league and tournament champions, as well as two-time defending state champions and have had a berth in the state tournament the past 19 years in a row with 16 titles since 1995.
Whipple expects Beaver Dam and Beatty might be the top league contenders to PVHS this year. Beatty was 11-6 and Beaver Dam was 9-7 in 2014. Beatty was the league tournament runner-up, and made their first appearance in the state tournament since 1998, but lost in the first round to Smith Valley.
“Beatty gives us a good match when we play there,” Whipple said. “They don’t ever have much of an offense, but those girls can dig a ball. We always struggle with Beatty over there. It’s not uncommon for Beatty to steal a set from us at their place.” The teams play in Beatty Oct. 2.
After the Lake Mead tournament, Pahranagat plays at Lincoln County on Sept. 15 and hosts Lake Mead Sept. 17. The team then travels to Tonopah (their first league match) Sept. 18.