It’s hammer time for Lions at state
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Mission accomplished for the top-seeded Yerington Lions who beat the No. 1 seed from the south, Faith Lutheran, in three games at Galena High Saturday afternoon to claim the Nevada 3A State Volleyball Championship.
The title is the first for the Yerington program.
Yerington (35-2) dominated the Crusaders (26-10) from the outset, winning 25-14, 25-16, 25-13 behind the powerful play of Kayla “The Hammer” Lommori and teammates Kiara Ross, Bre Tognoli, Danelle Bristol, Dena Helme and Angela Marraccini.
“I wouldn’t ask for it to be any better,” said Anna Aiazzi who, along with husband Jim, co-coaches the Lions.
“Jim and I have been dreaming of this. We had two goals when we started coaching. One was to win a state championship in 3A, and the other is to see one of our players play at the college level. I think we’ve got two or three here now who could do that.”
Lommori, a 5-11 sophomore, helped push the Lions to an early lead with seven kills, a block, and an ace in the first game.
In the second game, highlighted by a save at the edge of the bleachers by Tognoli, Yerington held leads of 15-4 and 20-9 as Lommori again was a dominating force, racking up five more brutal kill shots and five blocks, including one for the game winning point.
Game three saw the Crusaders put up their best game early on, fighting to a 9-9 tie before the Lions pulled away on the strength of Helme’s four kills and some great defensive work by Bristol, Tognoli, Ross and Rani Williams.
“Yerington played great,” said Faith Lutheran coach Amy Fisher.
“They took us out of our game with their passing and defense. Kayla Lommori is a good, powerful player. We couldn’t come up with an answer for her. 26-10 isn’t too bad, it just wasn’t our day today. Give all the credit to Yerington.”
A state title shouldn’t seem anticlimactic, but it almost is for the Lions.
“The game wasn’t as tough as last night,” said Aiazzi, referring Friday night’s semifinal game against the north’s No. 2 seed Lowry, who pushed Yerington to five games in the teams’ fifth meeting of the year.
“We played looser, more confidant today. We knew that (Lowry) was a mental game. After five times, we’ve figured out each other. We came in today more relaxed, and our passers and setters were incredible. Kiara Ross and Bre Tognoli are complete players. They made some key plays and helped us play as a complete team.”
Lommori finished with 14 kills and nine blocks, while Helme added six kills and two blocks.
Bristol, a senior playing her last game, offered some perspective.
“This is so awesome. To go out like this is incredible. This is the best season ever.”
Lommori has her own outlook that ought to worry the 3A ranks.
“Good” was how she put the feeling of winning the state title, but insists that the Lions will be back next year .
“Yeah,” she said about returning to the state tournament.
“Now we’ve got something to prove.”