Lommori leads Lions to sweep over Dust Devils in state semis
By Charles Whisnand
Nevada Appeal Sports Editor
RENO ” Dayton put up a good fight. So did Moapa Valley, at least for the first set anyway.
But in the end Yerington and Truckee made it through to the NIAA Class 3A State Volleyball Championship match in convincing fashion, setting up what promises to be a dramatic showdown for the title.
The Lions swept Dayton 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 while the Wolverines swept Moapa Valley 26-24, 25-19, 25-19 Friday at Damonte Ranch High School. Yerington will go for a three-peat at 10 a.m. today at Damonte as it will seek its third straight state title.
But the Wolverines would love nothing more than to deny Yerington its three-peat, especially after losing to the Lions in five games at Truckee last week in the Northern 3A Regional finals.
Led by Dayton’s Matia Spencer and Allisa Vickers, the Dust Devils were able to expose Yerington’s defense at times and that’s something that left Lions coach Anna Aiazzi concerned.
“That’s not going to cut it,” said Aiazzi about the defense. “We’re going to have to play a lot cleaner, better defense if we’re going to walk away with the championship. Like I said before, the team that makes the least mistakes and plays with within their system is going to walk away with the trophy.”
Aiazzi credited setter Kiara Ross, who had 31 assists, for making up for her team’s defensive struggles.
“You’ve got to give your hat off to her,” Aiazzi said.
But Yerington had too much offensive firepower for Dayton. Kayla Lommori, arguably the state’s best all-around player, had 24 kills, including 13 in the second set.
Lommori also had a strong supporting cast as Dama Cox had six kills and Alex Roberts added four kills. Trinity Thom did have a strong defensive effort for Yerington, notching 10 digs.
Dayton coach Maren Rice said her team just didn’t have the defense to combat Yerington’s offense.
“If we could have blocked…” Rice said. “We were working on that all week.”
Overall, though, Rice said she was happy with her team’s effort.
“I was very pleased with the girls,” she said. “When Kayla would smash a ball on our face, we’re learning to shake it off and move on.”
And Rice didn’t hide how happy she was that Friday’s match was the last time she would be facing Lommori.
“Oh no, definitely not,” said Rice when asked if she was sad to see Lommori go. “I will celebrate her leaving.”
Rice said Friday was just the first step for her young team and she made a bold prediction.
“It’s a huge thing because all of my girls are coming back. We’ll definitely be back here next year and we’ll be winning it.”
The Dust Devils took a 5-2 lead in the first set on Haley Ignatich’s kill from the back row. Yerington came back to tie the score 7-7 and then gradually began to take control as Ross’ a dink and ace gave the Lions a 9-7 lead.
Courtney Clifton then served for five straight points to give Yerington a 16-9 lead. Clifton served for an ace and Cox had a kill and a block during the run. Yerington continued to extend its lead with Roberts’ block making it 24-14.
Aundria Pluck and Spencer combined on a block to give Dayton a 1-0 lead in the second set before Yerington went on to take a 7-2 lead. Spencer had a kill from the back row, but that only temporarily stopped the run.
Dayton closed to within 13-11 on Vickers’ kill when Lommori took over. She had five kills during a stretch in which the Lions took a 20-13 lead.
The Dust Devils again fought back, closing to within 22-20 on Spencer’s kill. But Lommori answered with a kill that made it 24-20 and Yerington went on to win the set.
Lommori’s kill from the back row gave Yerington a 3-0 lead in the third set, but Dayton wouldn’t go away. The Lions finally began to take control with Ross serving for six straight points to give Yerington a 17-12 lead. Cox had a block and a kill and Angela Marraccini had a kill during the run.
Dayton made one final push, with Spencer’s block and McKenzie Kielty’s ace pulling the Dust Devils to within 23-21. Roberts’ kill gave Yerington a 24-21 lead before Amanda Arana’s dink pulled Dayton to within 24-22. But then Dayton served out to end the match.
Vickers had nine kills, Spencer had eight kills, Pluck had five kills and Kielty had 11 assists for Dayton while Lommori had four aces for Yerington.