With the regular season completed, now it is time for the second season to begin, i.e., the 1A Northern League tournament this weekend at Wooster High in Reno.
The pairings in the eight-team tournament that runs through Nov. 4, has Coleville (18-6) against Wells (6-14), Eureka (14-7) facing Virginia City (22-5), Owyhee (15-6) facing Smith Valley (22-10), and Sierra Lutheran (17-7) vs. McDermitt. Owyhee is the defending regional champion.
Eureka coach Katie Benson said the Lady Vandals concluded the regular season Oct. 24 with a 3-0 win at Round Mountain. Except for the first game, it was not a very competitive match. Eureka won handily, 25-21, 25-13, 25-7.
The Knights ended their season 0-15. Eureka now holds a 15-6 edge in the series dating back to 2007 and has won 11 matches in a row and 15 of the last 16. In all those matches, the Lady Vandals have only lost one set to Round Mountain, back in 2010.
Benson said several of her players were absent that day, attending the FFA convention, “but by the second set, the team kind of came together and settled down.”
She said middle blocker Mikala Talbot had “a very dominate match” at Round Mountain. Also, Josie Hoekenga was the setter and “did a very good job running our offense.”
As the playoffs begin, Benson said the team, when all are together, are playing really good defense and Shauna Brown is doing a good job running our offense.”
One of their major accomplishments was a 3-2 win against Owyhee Sept. 20.
As the regional tournament begins today and their first match with Virginia City Benson said, “We don’t have many matches with teams from the west division, but they do seem to always have some good attackers, and we will just have to be doing our best.” The teams have not played either other since 2015, and the series, since 2007, is tied 5-5.
Benson said the last time the Lady Vandals advanced to the state tournament was in 2013 along with Smith Valley. But the girls lost to eventual state champion Pahranagat Valley in the semi-finals.
In the Southern regional playoffs, Pahranagat Valley and Tonopah earned first-round byes to the Friday semifinals in Alamo. First round matches which were on Wednesday this week had Word of Life at Liberty Baptist and Indian Springs at Beatty.
The NIAA state tournament, for all classifications, will be Nov. 10-11 at Faith Lutheran High in Las Vegas.