North Tahoe volleyball headed to Vegas for state championship |

North Tahoe volleyball headed to Vegas for state championship

Provided to the SunThe North Tahoe High volleyball team finished runner-up to host Whittell in the Northern 2A Volleyball Championship on Saturday. The Lakers will compete as the second seed from the north in the state championship in Las Vegas this weekend.

When North Tahoe moved from the 3A to 2A classification before the season, current Northern 2A members knew the region would experience an instant upgrade.

This was evident at the Northern 2A regional championship this past Saturday, when the four-time defending 2A state champion Whittell Warriors were given all they could handle by the Lakers before coming away with a hard-fought 25-15, 25-23, 17-25, 25-20 victory at Whittell High School.

“North Tahoe is a huge, athletic team that plays with intensity,” said Whittell coach Dan McLaughlin. “It’s great to have them in the league. It makes everybody play better.”

The Warriors and Lakers both qualified for the 2A state tournament this week in Las Vegas with their regional semifinal wins. But in the regional title match between the teams, both battled point-for-point in every game until Whittell’s experience took over in the fourth game.

“It was a battle,” said North Tahoe coach Tom LeFevers. “We need to play a little cleaner, but I think we’re capable of beating them. We’re pretty evenly matched.”

Sloppy play marred the first game as both teams were having difficulty keeping serves in. After tying the score at 7 on a block by senior Jordan Reeder, the Warriors reeled off seven straight points thanks to the hitting of Brittney Makara.

Whittell (16-6) kept a comfortable lead on the Lakers (20-10, 8-4) behind kills by sophomores Isabel Concha-Foley and Lauren Andrew and sealed the 10-point victory on an ace by senior Kendra Koskin.

North Tahoe came to life in the second game behind powerful 6-foot-2 hitter Laura Hansen. The senior recorded a kill to give the Lakers an 11-7 lead. Whittell, though, fought back to take a 15-14 lead on a block by sophomore Jacquelyn Baines, then held off a late North Tahoe rally to win by two points on a Reeder kill.

The third game saw seven ties, the last time at 15 on a kill by Andrew. North Tahoe’s strong front line of Hansen and junior Kayla Baumgardner ” and pin-point setting of junior Kelly Hester ” helped the Lakers run away with the seven-point victory that shifted the momentum to the girls in black uniforms.

In the fourth game, Whittell took the first five points, but North Tahoe fought back, matching the Warriors point-for-point, and knotting the match at 15 on a kill by Hansen. The Warriors doubled up the Lakers from there on, winning the final game and the match on a kill by Reeder.

“It made it meaningful playing such a good team like that,” senior Kendra Koskin said. “Hopefully, we’ll play them again next week in the (state) championship.”

Hansen led the Lakers at the net with 12 kills and seven blocks. Hester had 26 assists and four service aces, Baumgardner had nine kills, Haley Burmer six kills and two blocks.

As the Warrior girls accepted their fifth straight Northern 2A regional trophy, they knew it was well-earned after their intense battle with their neighbors, and new rivals from the north end of the lake. Though the southern Nevada representatives will have their say, many believe these Northern 2A schools will do battle again next week with the state title on the line.

North Tahoe edged Lovelock in three hard-fought games, 26-24, 27-25, 27-25, in the semifinal match.

“Every game was a battle,” LeFevers said. “Lovelock played out of their minds.”

Hansen tallied eight kills, four aces and three blocks, and Baumgardner posted eight kills and four blocks. Sidney Courcier had six kills, and Hester 24 assists, two aces and one block.

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