6A VB: Corona del Sol notches title, sweeps Mtn. Pointe

November 9, 2016 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Corona del Sol and Mountain Pointe girls volleyball. Familiar with one another? Definitely. The 6A Central Region rivals played twice in region and three more times in three invitationals they competed in this season. No secrets between these two. Corona won four of the five matches.

So locking up for the sixth time this season on Wednesday night to decide the 6A volleyball championship, was there a surprise in store?

Nope. Corona del Sol made sure of that.

Playing mostly at the high level it played at all season, Corona went out and swept Mountain Pointe, 25-13, 25-21, 25-15, to win the conference title at Mesquite High School.

Corona finished the year with a sparkling 39-5 record and won its second title in the sport. The last one came in 1991. The Aztecs have been runner-up seven times in a nearly 40-year history. Mountain Pointe ended up 35-9 for the year and this was its second runner-up finish. The last one was in 2007. Their lone title came in 2001.

"This is a very mature team," Corona coach Ben Maxfield said. of his tall, athletic squad. "Most of the girls have played together three or four years. They also play for club teams at a high level. They've been playing with great confidence."

Led by superb play in every phase in the first set, Corona set the tone with its 12-point romp. A set Maxfield described the passing as spot on and the hitting the same.

The key to the sweep was the second set. Mountain Pointe opened up a 15-10 lead prompting Corona to call its first timeout of the match. The deficit reached 17-11 and the opening was there for Mountain Pointe to even the match.

Corona's hitting had fallen off a bit, but at that point it picked up in accuracy and the Aztecs used a 14-4 run to close the set and go up 2-0.

"I was nervous playing them a sixth time," Maxfield said. "They're a great team and they have the ability to come back. We've learned over the season if we get behind we know we can come back."

The third set was close early. Tied at 6. That's when senior and Cal-bound middle Lauren Forte went to work with four consecutive kills. The lead continued to widen and the match ended with a signature Forte kill -- that devastating downward spike from a 6-foot-4 player.

"That was the best game of Lauren's career," Maxfield said.

A good one all around for Corona. Forte contributed 11 kills and junior opposite Emma West had 10. The huge night for Corona went to senior Erica Ronda with a match-high 15 kills and 16 digs. Senior libero Camryn Tucker added 14 digs and setters Madi Reum and Abby Meyer produced 16 and 23 assists, respectively.

"It was a bad night to have a bad night," Mountain Pointe coach Karen Gray said. "They played really well, but we didn't play like we play. But we've been playing out of our mind lately. It wasn't that way tonight."

Mountain Pointe was led in attacking by Nura Muhammad and Avery Luoma with seven kills apiece. Anna Morse (11 digs) and Chapin Gray and Gabby Leo (10 digs each) led the defense. 

Corona del Sol and Mountain Pointe didn't suddenly blossom midway through or late in the season. They proved early on in 2016 they were to be reckoned with in the quest for the 6A title. Corona was 21-2 the first month of the season; Mountain Pointe, 19-4.

More proof of that came Tuesday night in the semifinals when they dispatched two of the elite programs of this decade -- Xavier Prep and Hamilton -- to advance to the title match.