Familiar programs still rule roost in girls volleyball
August 24, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Corona del Sol's Brooke Nuneviller is back to help Aztecs' effort at 6A repeat. (Photo courtesy Nuneviller family)
Another girls volleyball season is at hand. Not much change expected in who is likely to be left standing in the big-school class (6A) once the semifinals arrive in early Novermber.
A new champion of late emerged last year in Corona del Sol, but in seven seasons this decade five schools have dominated when final four time arrives -- Xavier (7 semi appearances, 2 titles); Hamilton (5 semis, 0 titles); Gilbert (3 semis, 1 title), Horizon (3 semis, 1 title) and Desert Vista (3 semis, 2 titlles). Schools looking to become regulars are Perry and Mountain Pointe. Perry has more returnees this year than any of the elite. The Pumas fell short of the semis last year thanks to Mountain Pointe, which worked its way to the final vs Corona. Horizon may be ready to jump back in with the mainstays while Gilbert may be in for a tough year.
That said, five different schools have won a big-school title (6A, D-I or 5A-I) this decade (2010-2016) -- Xavier (2), Desert Vista (2), Gilbert (1), Horizon (1) and Corona (1). So the wealth has been spread when it comes down to holding the best tin cup. Horizon also won a 5-II title in 2010.
As for the upcoming season, defending champion Corona del Sol has the pieces to repeat. The Aztecs are led by 2016 state Gatorade Player of the Year Brooke Nuneviller, Emma West and Abby Meyer. Perry, Hamilton, Xavier, Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe will have something to say about the title come November. 6A Conference first- or second-team selections from last year returning along with Nuneviller are Xavier's Shannon Shields, Mountain Pointe's Gabby Leo, Horizon's Karen Scanlon, Perry's Ryann Davis, Basha's Kiana Gonsalves, Millennium's Alyssa Avitia and Kofa's Isabel Ponce.
The 5A defending champ is Centennial. The Coyotes graduated three standouts, including Northwest Region Player of the Year Kara Spicer. Four players who started or played a bunch, however, are back so Centennial can't be overlooked. Sunnyslope, last year's runner-up, didn't lose very much to graduation and should be considered the favorite led by Metro Region Player of the Year Kayla Matthews. The likes of Chaparral, Queen Creek, Notre Dame and Ironwood Ridge should figure in the title conversation.
The East Valley and Northeast Valley had little to say about the 4A title last year. Seton Catholic was the best, reaching the quarterfinals. Salpointe is the defending champ. 3A and 2A state champions were from the area -- Fountain Hills in 3A (a good chance at a repeat this year) and Horizon Honors in 2A (with good experience in tow from last year).
Here's a list of top returning players with an emphasis on East Valley and Northeast Valley schools:
A list of top returning players for 2017:
6A: Sr. Brooke Nuneviller, Corona del Sol, OH-L; Sr. Emma West, Corona del Sol, OH; Sr. Abby Meyer, Corona del Sol, S; Sr. Gabby Leo, Mtn. Pointe, S; Sr. Anna Morse, Mtn. Pointe, L; Jr. Avery Luoma, Mtn. Pointe, OH-MB; Jr. Piper Manross, Mtn. Pointe, MB; Sr. Rylie Arms, Highland, OH; So. Anna Toolson, Highland, OH; Sr. Abigail Hansen, Desert Vista, MB; So. Mackenzie Jefferson, Desert Vista, S; Jr. Kalen Owes, Desert Vista, OH; Sr. Darian Clark, Hamilton, OH; Jr. Taylor Jacobsen, Hamilton, OH; Sr. Ryann Davis, Perry, OH-MB; Sr. Kiana Gonsalves, Basha, L; Jr. Shannon Shields, Xavier, S; Sr. Lanie Wagner, Xavier, OH; Sr. Alyna Draper, Xavier, L; Sr. Halle Razo, Perry, L; Sr. Katie Koski, Perry, S; Sr. Kennedy Kaminsky, MB; Sr. Lauren Weintraub, Chandler, OH; Sr. Danielle Seddon, Chandler, MB; Jr. Annie Hatch, Mesa, OH; So. Kate Hatch, Mesa, S; Sr. Harley Cummard, Mesa, MB; Sr. Hannah Leblanc, Mtn. View, S; Sr. Taleni Ta'ase, Mtn. View, MB; Sr. Lizzy Phipps, Dobson, OH; Jr. Kamaile Hiapo, Skyline, OH; Sr. Lacie Tenney, Skyline, MB; Sr. Kayla Subbert, Red Mtn, OH; Jr. Makenna Fullford, Red Mtn, L; Sr. Karen Scanlon, Horizon, MH; Jr. Claire Smith, Horizon, S. Sr. Brooke Koritala, Desert Mtn, OH.
5A: Jr. Amber Stivrins, Chaparral, OH; Jr. Kate Van Houtten, Chaparral, S; Sr. Kylee Davis, Chaparral, OH; Sr. Kayla Matthews, Sunnyslope, OH; Sr. Tyasia McGruder, Sunnyslope, OPP; Jr. Macy Wilke, Sunnyslope, S; Sr. Amanda Carlson, Sunnyslope, OH. Sr. Sayler Butters, Notre Dame Prep, L, Sr. Nicole Shuhandler, Notre Dame Prep, MB; Sr. Sophie Sydenham, Notre Dame Prep, OH; Sr. Kennadee Coplen, Queen Creek, S; Sr. Claudia Wilson, Queen Creek, OH; Jr. Kate Grimmer, Queen Creek, OPP; Sr. Sadie Udall, Campo Verde, OH; Jr .Caitlin Dugan, Campo Verde, OH; Jr. Hattie Patton - Campo Verde, L; Sr. Haley Fitzgerald, Mesquite, MB; Sr. Lauren Lipinski, Mesquite, RS-MB.
4A: Sr. Lauryn Harrell, Higley, MB-OH; Jr. Nikki Fulmer, Seton, MB-OH; Jr. Emily Mangone, Seton, OH; So. Delaney Shearan, Seton, S; Jr. Luci Kimble, Apache Junction, S
3A: Sr. KC McMahon, Fountain Hills, OH; Sr. Amara Feyrer-Melk, Fountain Hills, OH; Paula Iwaoka, Fountain Hills, L; Sr. Courtney Dyer, Valley Christian, OH; Sr. Mackenzi Kerkhoff, Valley Christian, OPP; Sr. Julianna Gay, Valley Christian, L; So. Abigail Calcchio, Valley Christian, S. Sr. Emily Kost, Benjamin Franklin, OH.
2A: Sr. Erica Kendree, Horizon Honors, OH; So. Camryn Marshall, Horizon Honors, OH; Jr. Gabriella Castronova, Horizon Honors, L; Sr. Courtney Weidemann, Chandler Prep, OH; Sr. Taylor Mantle, Chandler Prep, L; Jr. Isabelle Miranda, Chandler Prep, S; Jr. Mary Shroll, Tempe Prep, OH; Sr. Lucy Hoffman, Arizona College Prep, OH;