For the first time since the Reagan administration, Pahranagat Valley volleyball will have a new head coach.
With the retirement of legendary coach Ginger Whipple and her 19 Class 1A state championship titles, including the last two, the mantle now falls to Milly Walch, who played for Whipple from 1996 to 2000.
She inherits a team that lost five seniors, including 1A Southern League co-MVP Karley Whipple and First Team selections Madi Taylor and Ashlyn Wadsworth.
“We are going to be young,” she said, with only two returning senior starters, coincidentally cousins: league co-MVP Morgan Harris and Second Team All-League Hannah Castleton.
Other returning players are McKenzie Poulsen, Kami Sterling, and Mariah Zander. Senior Emily Hansen will be the libero.
Walch said the need for a second outside hitter has moved Castleton from the middle to an outside hitter. “We had to adjust to make it work.”
Rebecca Taylor is also expected to be one of the top players.
“I’m really positive about the team and the season,” Walch said. “We are going to work really hard and be at our peak at the end. We’re still making needed adjustments. Yes, we’re young, still needing to build quite a few players, and I’ll be relying on my seniors.”
In the 1A Southern League, Walch expects the Lady Panthers “will do great.” PVHS is also the eight-time defending league champions.
The Lady Panthers open the season with a home match against Moapa Valley Aug. 28, then play at The Meadows Aug. 30.
At the end of September, the girls will participate in the Boulder City Invitational.
Action in the eight-team Southern League begins Sept. 14 by hosting Beaver Dam.
A new school comes into the league this year, Green Valley Christian (Henderson), and will play the Lady Panthers in the last game of the regular season, Oct. 25, in Alamo.