First-year coach Milly Walch has her Lady Panthers team poised to enter the 1A Class Southern regional tournament this weekend at Tonopah High School.
It’s a meeting of the top-four teams from the Southern League and the top four from the new Central League.
The 1A Northeast and Northwest Leagues are doing the same thing this weekend at Eureka.
The top two from each tournament will advance to the state tournament on Nov. 9-10 in Reno, where Pahranagat Valley High School (PVHS) is the two-time defending state champion.
PVHS finished the league season Oct. 25 with an easy 3-0 win over Green Valley Christian in Alamo. Scores were 25-6, 25-13, and 25-12.
Then they had a tourney tune-up match with Lincoln County on Oct. 30 and won 3-0 by scores of 25-4, 25-10, and 25-18.
Lincoln County (14-11) will also be involved in the 2A Southern League tournament this weekend at The Meadows High. The Mustangs are the defending league and state tournament champions.
Walch said of her players and her first year as head coach, following the retirement of longtime coach Ginger Whipple, whom she played for herself from 1997 to 2001, “She was a huge part of my life, and since she was my coach, everything I do know I learned from her, and I am trying to keep what she established alive. She knows what is needed to prepare a team for regionals and state, I don’t, so we have been talking quite a bit. A lot of things I am still learning, and she has experience in all of that.”
The first round pairings in the Nov. 2 regional tournament match Pahranagat Valley (15-8) and Round Mountain, Liberty Baptist (14-9) vs. Coleville, Tonopah against Beatty (5-4), and Smith Valley vs. Green Valley Christian (7-11).
The semifinals and finals will be Nov. 10, with the top-two teams advancing to the 1A Class state tournament semifinals Nov. 9 at Reed High School in Reno. The championship finals for all classifications will be Nov. 10 at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno.