By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley High School Varsity Volleyball team officially started its regular season last week, and also played an out of league game against a nearby rival. The Pirates impressed their home fans in both games, and certainly built momentum going forward.
The first game of the week came on Wednesday against SECTA, and the Pirates asserted their dominance over the visiting Roadrunners. In the first set, the Pirates started strong with a kill from Eden Whitmore and a few aces from Shyanne Matheson. Even so, SECTA kept it close.
Leading 7-6, the Pirates then went on a tear for the rest of the first set, winning 25-10.
In the second set, Moapa Valley stayed in control of the court. Thanks in part to serving from Aria Messer as well as a few kills by Eden Whitmore, the Pirates won 25-7.
In the third and, what would be, the final set, Kessa Evans and Aria Messer brought tough serving early to set the tone. The Pirates would hold on for a 25-10 victory.
“I thought that we made some good defensive adjustments against them,” said Pirate head coach Mandie Matheson. “The girls picked up on them very quickly.”
While the Pirate varsity team was successful in this game, Matheson said perhaps the biggest highlight was at the younger levels. Both the B and JV Moapa teams also beat the Roadrunners. The team of freshmen even had a set where they beat SECTA by an astonishing 25-0 score. All 25 points were served by Emilie Lyon.
Both underclass teams traveled to a tournament at Palo Verde in Las Vegas over the weekend as well and were placed in the Gold bracket.
“Honestly, we have such good young talent that are being coached well because they are competitors, and great athletes,” Matheson said. “It’s very exciting to see all three of our teams be very successful this year.”
Youth at the varsity level has been a critical part of the Moapa team’s success as well. Sophomore Abbie Evans; as well as juniors Shyanne Matheson, Alex Peay, and Emilie Barraza; are performing at a high level.
“Everybody is going to have an off night and not match up as well as they do against other teams,” Coach Matheson said. “So to have players that can step in with the confidence and ability to make plays, is awesome.”
“The energy the juniors and sophomores bring to the Varsity team is awesome,” Matheson added. “They stay energized while they are playing, even if they are playing a supportive role on the bench.”
The Varsity Pirates’ second game of the week came at home against Pahranagat Valley. With various players knowing each other from each side, the matchup between the Panthers and Pirates has turned into an annual small town rivalry.
The Pirates jumped out and won their first set 25-13. But in the second set, Pahranagat Valley responded with a 25-18 win of their own. In the third set, the Pirates regained their advantage with a 25-19 victory and sealed the deal with a dominant 25-13 win in the fourth and decisive set.
“Alamo is super fun to play because they are always very good defensively,” Matheson said. “They also had a few very good hitters on the outside.”
“To play a team that is going to continually get the ball back at you is pretty exhilarating because you have to continue to work your system and can’t just rely on getting a kill,” Matheson added. “You have to fight for every point.”