Spikers dig into regional's - The Explorer: Sports

Spikers dig into regional's

Some squads loom large, some still learning

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Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Southern Arizona’s girls’ volleyball teams are about to get to know each other a lot better, as both the 5A-II and 4A-I tournaments begin Thursday.

In 4A-I, the stakes are high.

The format of the tournament: #3 plays #4, the winner plays #2, and whoever wins that matchup plays the #1 team in the region, with the top two finishers automatically qualifying for state. In the Sonoran region, that means that #4 Cholla (3-14) will play #3 Marana (7-10) in the first round, with #2 CDO waiting in the second round, and #1 Catalina Foothills awaiting the overall winner.

In 5A-II, the format is the same, but only the top team automatically qualifies for state.

Since Southern region #1 Ironwood Ridge and #2 Mountain View have already qualified, this makes a tournament victory crucial for region #3 Rincon (10-7) and #4 Sunnyside (1-16).

State tournaments: State volleyball action starts Nov. 8, and five area squads have earned spots in the competition with stellar regular season play and will now look to bring a state title to Southern Arizona. Here is a small sample of what fans can expect.

Ironwood Ridge: The Nighthawk volleyball team should feel pretty domestic during the first two rounds of the 5A-II state tournament, held Nov. 12-18. Ironwood Ridge is 16-1 and ranked #1 in the state, giving it home court advantage until the Saturday semifinals in Phoenix.

And, as Coach Bill Lang pointed out, “Ironwood Ridge has never lost a playoff game at home.”

Senior libero Michelle Link and junior middle blocker Briana Hughes provide defense on a team that has proved rock solid at preventing opponents from scoring. Offensive firepower in 2008 has been courtesy of outside hitters Kirsten Linaker (senior) and Michaela Christiaansen (sophomore). Ironwood Ridge made it to the fourth round of last year’s tournament before losing to Glendale Ironwood.

Mountain View: When the Mountain Lions lost to Rincon Oct. 30, they narrowly missed earning home court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs, but will have it for the first match thanks to 12-5 record and a #5 state ranking. Senior outside hitter Courtne McIntosh’s finesse shots, which generally fall slightly past middle blockers, have been a solid source of Mountain View points, and 6-foot senior Danielle Courtney provides the height and jumping ability to stuff opponents at the net.

CDO: The Dorados, in the final season of coach Melva Lundy’s long career, are ranked #9 in 4A-I, and will mostly likely be playing at home for the first round of the playoffs thanks to an 13-5 record built largely on a defense that shut out competitors in nine different matches, allowing no game losses. That defense will be the Dorados’ chance at a long postseason run, counting heavily on middle blocker Sarah Batterton and libero Hannah Sitter, both juniors. The offensive kills will come from junior opposite hitter Stephanie Ziegler with sets from senior Arianna Morales.

Catalina Foothills: When 12-5 Foothills beat 1-14 Pueblo on Oct. 30, the Falcons jumped CDO to gain the #8 ranking statewide, as well as home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons’ offensive push will come from junior setter Rachel Coury and sophomore Leah Woznica. On defense, junior libero Raquel Carranza will look to shut out opposing offenses.

Pusch Ridge: The second-ranked Lions (16-1) narrowly missed an undefeated regular season with an Oct. 25 loss to #1 Northwest Christian. On Nov. 7, Pusch Ridge takes its title hopes to Peoria High School, site of the 2A state tournament, where the Lions were ousted in the first round of last year’s event. Looking to avoid a similar result and foil scoring opportunities will be middle blockers Hanna McLeod (senior) and Cheyene Link (junior). Points will come from scoring duo sophomore outside hitter Quincy Cooper and senior setter Morgan Van Stelle.

Championship matches

5A-II — 6 p.m.,Tuesday, November 18 at Brophy College Prep

4A-I — 8 p.m., Monday, November 17 at Brophy College Prep

2A — 6 p.m., Saturday, November 8 at Peoria High School

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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