Pahranagat Valley volleyball begins Sept. 6. Their opening match of the season is with Lincoln in Alamo.
Longtime coach Ginger Whipple thinks this might be her 34th year, although she readily admits she really doesn’t know for sure.
Regardless of how many years it has been, Whipple has coached a state record 17 championships since the first one in 1985, including nine consecutive (1997-2005). Another even more impressive state record is that since 1995, the Lady Panthers have appeared in the 1A or Division IV championship game 21 years in a row, winning 16 times.
Whipple’s own daughter, Nikki Maxwell, serves as assistant coach plus handling the JV team, and her granddaughter, Karley Whipple, was First Team All-league last year as a sophomore.
The Lady Panthers have five players returning from the 2015 Southern League All-Star teams, seniors Madison Harris, Alyson Egbert and Alyse Frehner, plus juniors Madalyn Taylor and Karley Whipple. A new senior transfer from Moapa, Kyla Shumway, has joined the team as well. “She will be sharing the position as the outside hitter along with Taylor and Whipple,” Ginger said. “She’ll be an asset. We’ll find a place for her.”
Frehner who had 152 assists last season will key the offense that featured Whipple with 88 kills on the year.
“We’re very pleased with having five returning players from the All Star teams last year, just one more year of experience with those girls,” Whipple said. In addition, she said junior Rachel Bunker will move into the libero position.
In Southern Nevada, this year there are seven teams playing as independents. League members Beatty, Sandy Valley, Beaver Dam, Indian Springs are playing some of them, but Pahranagat Valley is not. Whipple explained the reason is “that we already have a strong, competitive team and schedule and we don’t have to play independents.”
The regular season begins Sept. 6 with Lincoln in Alamo and ends with Alamo at Lincoln Nov. 1. Whipple said, “We like to start with them and finish with them, if we can. Both us have improved at the end and it helps prepare both of us for our respective state competitions.”
Pahranagat plays in the Boulder City Invitation tournament Sept. 16-17 involving Calvary Chapel, Lake Mead, The Meadows, Lincoln County, Basic, Eldorado, Virgin Valley, Las Vegas, Liberty, Pahrump, and Desert Oasis.
“It’s a tournament I always like going to,” Whipple said, “because it is usually some really good competition and we did well enough last year (3-3) that we could come back and compete again.”