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Talent-rich squads mark start of girls’ volleyball season

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Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:04 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

That combination of leather and hardwood, sweat and manicures ringing throughout Northwest-area high school gyms spells volleyball season.

As several playoff-caliber squads eye championship runs, it’s now or never for Canyon Del Oro coach Melva Lundy’s 29-year career to post a state title.

Lundy plans to retire this season, after spending the last 20 years at CDO, where she led Dorado teams to a 581-222 (.723) record.

Her retirement remains relative; the coach plans to shave 12-to-14-hour days down to regular workweeks, as she continues teaching CDO physical education classes, while spending time with her husband and mother.

Still, Lundy doesn’t think downshifting merits any special attention.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the kids,” Lundy said after last week’s win against Tucson High, which bumped their season record to 2-0.

“They’re the ones that do all the hard work.”

Lundy’s laborers include senior libero Hannah Sitter, who earned school and district records in digs and saves during 2007.

Sitter admits Lundy’s departure is one motivator to cruise past last year’s 30-win season, but solid execution remains the vehicle.

“It’s about being steady as a team, bringing the same energy to every game, getting the ball passed every time to the same target, the same set every time,” Sitter said.

Three other gifted seniors — outside hitters Stephanie Ziegler (4A-I Sonoran Player of the Year) and Jenna Seger, plus 6-foot middle hitter Sarah Batterton —  head for high-school afterlife, graduating in May.

“We are going to work as hard as we can for each other,” Ziegler said. “And hopefully we can get past any challenge.”

One division and a few miles away, Ironwood Ridge head coach Bill Lang works to solve an opposite theorem: How to replace the scoring battery of five departed seniors that accounted for nearly 80 percent of last year’s Nighthawk points.

“Buckle your seatbelts,” Lang quipped. “That’s how it’s going to be.”

So far, the Nighthawks have fared well — though a few hair-raising moments, like the nearly-blown efforts of last Tuesday’s five-game win over Sunrise Mountain, remind supporters that it’s a young team.

Senior setter Malyree Harper “runs the show” now, according to Lang, after a season of short reps in the shadow of graduated Southern Arizona Player of the Year Christina Solverson.

“It’s a lot of responsibility having to step into those shoes,” Harper said. “But I’m also a senior, so I know what I need to do and how to achieve that.”

Harper’s got plenty of help, in senior Michelle Link, who Lang said could end up “the best libero in the state,” and nascent scoring machine Briana Hughes — a 6’ 2” middle blocker who racked up 21 kills last week.

Whether that exuberance can propel the Nighthawks past 2007’s 5A-II state semifinal terminus, stands to be seen.

“Wining is a byproduct,” Lang said. “We don’t even talk about it until we handle everything else.”

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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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