The Eureka County High girls’ volleyball dream season came to a screeching halt last Friday.

Elsie Etchegaray goes up high for a kill in the Lady Vandals homecoming game against Wells this season. Eureka County ended its dream season with a loss to Pahranagat Valley last weekend. (Courtesy photo)

The Eureka County High girls’ volleyball dream season came to a screeching halt last Friday.

After a 25-year state tournament absence, the Lady Vandals ran into a buzz saw when they met Pahranagat Valley high in the semifinals of the NIAA Division IV State Volleyball tournament in Las Vegas.

It wasn’t as if Eureka didn’t come to play, it was that the Lady Panthers (30-2) are just that good.

Pahranagat Valley started its state tournament dominance with a 25-11 win over Eureka to start the game, and really never looked back. The Lady Vandals made valiant runs in the final two games, losing 20-25 and 17-25, but could just never get over the hump as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 3-0 win.

The loss ended what was a great season for Eureka County. The Lady Vandals not only returned to state for the first time since 1988, but won over 20 games overall while going undefeated in conference.

They should be in position to make another run at the state title next season as coach Sherri Wilker will lose only three seniors to graduation.

Meanwhile, Pahranagat Valley cruised to another state championship victory on Saturday, beating Smith Valley 3-1. The Bulldogs defeated Tonopah in the semi-finals the night before.

Lady Panthers coach Ginger Whipple captured her record 16th state title since 1980, adding onto her legacy in the silver state. Whipple has more state championships than anyone in Nevada, and also took her team to the title game for a 20th consecutive season, a feat matched by nobody at any level in the state.

“I’m extra proud of my girls,” Whipple said. “Everyone is special to me, every state title is special. It’s like getting it for the first time.”