Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

3A North teams near regular season games; regional tourney next week

October 16, 2018 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

All six 3A North Region volleyball teams could earn a berth in this year's state tournament.

If the state tournament began today, three 3A North teams (Tuba City Lady Warriors, Page Lady Sand Devils, Kayenta Monument Valley) would be in the field of 16 in the state volleyball tournament.

Three 3A North schools (Ganado Lady Hornets, Chinle Lady Wildcats, Window Rock Lady Scouts) would play in the Conference Play-In Tournament on October 30, for schools finishing in the statewide power rankings, 9th to 24th. Survivors of the Conference Play-In Tournament advance to the state tournament.

The Tuba City Lady Warriors (13-0, 7-0) leads the 3A North Region field. Tuba City is ranked No. 3 in the 3A statewide power rankings. The Page Lady Sand Devils (7-3, 3-2) is ranked No. 9. The Kayenta Monument Valley Lady Mustangs (9-4, 6-2) follows, ranked No. 10.

The Ganado Lady Hornets (9-8, 3-6) sits at No. 17 in the statewide power rankings. The Chinle Lady Wildcats (8-6, 1-6) is ranked No. 19. The Window Rock Lady Scouts (6-8, 2-6) round out the 3A North Region schools, ranked No. 21.

Ganado head coach Jerome Burns said hopes the Lady Hornets finish strong as the regular nears conclusion and regional tournament ahead of them.

"As the (regular) season is wrapping up, we've had our ups and downs on some conference games," Burns said. "I think as coaches, our teams could always be doing better."

Burns said the 3A North Regional Tournament is scheduled for October 27. The Regional Tournament is scheduled for Kayenta, hosted by Monument Valley.

"I honestly have not looked at the (3A North Region) standings yet," Burns stated. "I am predicting we (Ganado) will end up third or fourth (place). Tuba City should be on top now. I believe the 3A will send the top two finishers to state. The rest will be determined by rankings."

First-year Chinle head coach Francine McCurtain said the Lady Wildcats are making positive strides in the tough and talented 3A North Region.

"Yes, our (regular) season is nearly coming to an end," McCurtain said. "It has been a positive turn around, as this is my first year head coach in volleyball. "The students I have this year are amazing and put every effort they can in practices. We fell short on some games that we know we could have had a different outcome."

McCurtain said as far as playing better, yes we should have done better by capitalizing on games that we should have won.

"It becomes a mental game and that's something our team is trying to improve on," McCurtain explained. "I believe in our students. They need to learn how to believe and perform to their best without giving up. The students need to learn through their tough experiences of a loss to continue to play at higher level when needed."

McCurtain said Tuba City is first place in the 3A North Region standings.

"They (Tuba City) is sitting at 11-0 right now," McCurtain said. "They (Tuba City) is having an unbelievable season right now. We (Chinle) are taking one game at a time to see what we can do and see if we can make post-season. We would love to make post-season. It would be awesome and it always a team goal."

McCurtain said the Lady Wildcats' goal for the remainder of the season is to finish strong and play one game and one set at a time.

"We want to become even more consistent with effciency," McCurtain said. "Our Lady Wildcats volleyball has improved so much over the season that it would be great to see winning record this year. It will be a great reflection to show how hard we worked over the season and that it showed."

McCurtain said should the Lady Wildcats fall short of playing in post-season, it doesn't necessarily mean that we didn't work hard .... just came up short of our goal.

"We as a team would also love to play with an amazing connection on the court by putting the team first in all factors of the game," McCurtain explained. "We gained knowledge of our skill development as we reflect the rest of our season."