Defending 1A state champion Pahranagat Valley is looking for another strong year in volleyball and they get started with it all this weekend, today and Saturday, at the 37-team Las Vegas Invitational.

PVHS coach Ginger Whipple said this is the first time Pahranagat Valley has participated in this long-established Las Vegas Invitation. “And it’s also our first matches of the season. Most of the teams have already had several matches under their belts. We wanted a tough tournament, so I signed us up.”

She said, “It will be very good competition with some very good teams, both 4A and 3A, including several from California.”

Two-time defending 4A state champion Bishop Gorman is also entered in the tournament.

Even though Pahranagat is a little 1A school, enrollment 92, they have usually done fairly well against larger schools. “We come to play,” she said. “We don’t want to get hammered, of course, but we play hard. It’s about learning how to play up, challenging us, and the other team doesn’t want to play weak competition either. We might be overmatched some in our first bracket, but we’ll hang right in there.”

As an underdog, PVHS has been able to surprise some of the larger teams in previous years with the tenacity of their play. Whipple said, “Those teams that don’t know anything about us, we might catch off-guard, have a little element of surprise, and make a showing. However, the teams that do know us are always prepared.”

Whipple said, “We could have gone to the tourney in Yerington with a bunch of other 2A and 1A teams, but I don’t want them to have film on us yet. I want to keep them guessing as to who we are.”

Following this first tournament, the Lady Panthers have three road matches,  at Moapa Valley, Sept. 7; at Pahrump Valley, Sept. 9; and at defending 2A state champion Calvary Chapel, Sept. 12.

Their first home matches are league affairs with Word of Life, Sept. 21, and Round Mountain, Sept. 22.