Lady Pirates Win Regionals

The MVHS Volleyball team celebrates a hard-fought win against Boulder City on Friday night to win the Southern Region Championships. This weekend, the Pirates are bound for Reno for the State tournament. PHOTO BY NICK YAMASHITA/The Progress

The celebration was spectacular for the Moapa Valley High School Volleyball team on Friday night, Nov. 5, when they narrowly defeated their Boulder City opponent and won the NIAA 3A Southern Regional Championship. The Lady Pirates came from behind after trailing in the first two sets, to win the match in the last three hard-fought sets against the Eagles. The regional match was hosted by Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite.

Earlier in the week, the Pirates had to face a couple of other opponents which led to Friday’s championship game. The team started on Tuesday, Nov. 2 hosting rival Virgin Valley for the first round. The Pirates won that match easily in three straight sets: 25-9, 25-3, 25-6.

Tough serving helped out with that victory as Emily Matheson had six aces in the match. Terra Evans, Rachel Lyman, and Sydney Reese helped lead the team in passing for the Pirates.
VVHS senior Hannah Iverson was the only one on the Bulldogs team to serve up an ace against the Pirates that night. Virgin Valley also had no blocks and only four kills for the match. Three of those four came from VVHS senior Calla Haviland.

Meanwhile, the other first-round matches had #2 Mtn Seed Pahrump Valley beating #5 SLAM, 3-2. #1 Mtn Seed Boulder City glided through #7 Pinecrest Academy Cadence in straight sets, 3-0. #2 Desert Seed Coral Academy of Science beat #6 Clark close to 3-2.

This set up Moapa Valley to take on Pahrump in the semifinals on Thursday. This was a little tougher match for the Pirates. But they won it again in three straight sets: 25-16, 25-16, 25-17.
Sydney Reese led with 17 kills. Talley Blackwell and Rachel Lyman also added 8 and 6 kills, respectively. This also allowed for setter Emily Matheson to give 29 assists.

Pahrump senior Kaylee Hargis led her team with 7 kills.

This and Boulder City’s win in their own bracket led the epic showdown the two #1 seeds in the south on Friday night in Mesquite.

The Eagles came out screeching with energy and power in the first two sets of the match. They double- and triple-blocked Pirates front-liner Sydney Reese. The Pirates seemed caught off-guard by this neutralization of their star player. They also seemed slow, and out of sync as the Eagles quickly soared to a two-set lead with scores of 19-25 and 14-25.

“We struggled to get our feet under us, especially for the 2nd set,” added MVHS Head Coach Mandie Matheson. “Boulder easily took charge at the beginning. But we weren’t going to go down without a fight!”

And fight the Pirates did. The Pirates dug deep and turned the match around in the next three sets.
“We made some adjustments rotationally, and the girls challenged each other to stay the course and start over from there,” said Matheson.

Reese found herself back in the groove of offensive power, leading the rest of the team. The Pirates fought back in the 3rd set, winning 25-21.

Things got even better as they won the 4th set 25-18 and brought home the championship in the 5th set with 15-9 score. The match ended on an ace from Talley Blackwell, her 5th of the night.

The joy was emphatic when the ace secured the win. Several were overcome with joy as jumps of exhilaration and tears of pure happiness were displayed.

Virgin Valley Principal Riley Frei handed the Lady Pirates team the championship trophy, and they could not let it go.

The final match was led offensively by Sydney Reese. After being effectively shut down for the first two sets, she finished with 22 kills, and a percentage of .531. Talley Blackwell also added 12 kills. Both Reese and Blackwell owned the nets in the 4th and 5th sets, shutting down the Boulder City offensive with block after block. Emily Matheson set it up with 32 assists.

Terra Evans and Rachel Lyman picked up defensively, adding dig after dig that they had missed in the first two sets.

Boulder City put up some great stats as well in the match. Addison Doane with 16 kills, Ashlyn Hess 13, and Julianna Luebke 12. The Eagles benefited from solid defensive play from Zoey Robinson with 27 digs.

“It was a true team effort from all 13 players, cheering each other on and making adjustments where needed,” concluded Matheson. “We are going to celebrate that victory through the week and then get right back to work. We had some areas of improvement that were exposed and are determined to fix before the state tournament begins.”

The Pirates (30-3) now head to the NIAA State Tournament at Hug High in Reno. The team enters the semifinals as the #1 Seed in the south and will take on Fernley (13-8), the #2 seed of the north.

On the other side of the bracket, the north #1 seed Truckee (21-4) will play #2 southern seed Boulder City (27-11).

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to represent MVHS this upcoming weekend in Reno,” said Matheson. “We are very thankful for our parents, community, and students that have provided support and energy from the stands this season so far.”