Xavier takes down Mountain Ridge in round one of the playoffs
October 31, 2017 by Keaton Milburn, Arizona State University
After an undefeated regular season, Xavier Prep laid it all on the court for their first playoff game win against Mountain Ridge high school.
The first round of playoffs were held at Xavier Prep High School where the gym was packed full of parents and students ready to see their team make it to the second round. About 80% of the gym was rooting for the Gators, and with every break in between games, the Xavier cheerleaders led the crowd in a spirited chant. Not many high schools show as much pride in their volleyball team as much as Xavier does, but when you are the No. 1team in Arizona, that pride comes with it.
“Before tonight’s match we had a team meeting about the season and what has prepared us for state,” junior Shannon Shields said. “This team has a lot of chemistry and is ready to put in the work to win the title.”
For Xavier Prep winning these playoff matches is just one step closer to the state title they have been wanting since their last one in 2013. The team started off a bit shaky in the first two games against the Lions and seemed to be struggling in some areas it normally excels in.
“Tonight our serve-receive passing was pretty strong, but our serving wasn’t. We’re a strong serving team so we need to get back there on the end line and take care of business,” coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said.
The Gators beat the Mountain Lions in all three games of the match Tuesday. At one point the Gators were up by 10 in a game, but no matter the score and determination the Gators had, the Mountain Lions never gave in. The team's drive to win and effort to make a comeback even after being so far down was seen in there faces and voices. The chants and yells by the small section of Lions fans were enough to keep them pushing. Eventually they did fall short to Xavier. The scores for all three games were 25-17.
Each game played by both teams was a fight all the way to the end and as the final buzzer blared through the gym, Xavier got one step closer to a state title. The team will play Sandra Day O’Connor Nov. 2 in the quarterfinals.
“O’Connor has been the underdog in several matches so far this season and has come out on top,” senior and team captain, Lanie Wagner said. “Now its just a matter of performing and not allowing them to compete with us.”
No matter who the underdog could have been in the past, Thursday’s game will not be handed over on a silver platter to either team.