3A Volleyball Preview
November 7, 2019 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
With only one major upset in the Play-In Tournament, 15 of the top-ranked teams from the 3A Conference are set for the state tournament slated to start this Friday at Camelback High School.
No. 23 Payson (7-10) knocked No. 10 ALA Queen Creek (14-3) out of the state tournament with a 3-0 sweep in the Play-In Tournament and that victory gave the Longhorns the 16-seed in the state tournament. The shift in seeding moved Sabino (12-5) out of the last spot to No. 15 in the state tournament which means a date against No. 2 Snowflake (17-1) in the first round rather than a spot against No. 1 Valley Christian (16-1).
Valley Christian was a 2A powerhouse with nine state championships including eight in arrow between 1993 and 2000 and the Trojans are back with their highest ranking since earning a 2-seed in 2012 and a 2-seed in 2016. Both of those high seeds, however, resulted in semifinal losses.
“Our volleyball program has been extremely successful this season for multiple reasons,” Valley Christian head coach Lindy Ramsland. “We are one year older and one year wiser. Our three senior captains Breanna Brooks, Abigail Calicchio and Megan Davies bring a great amount to the table and lead by example. The girls get along so well and genuinely want what is best for each other.
“We have always had a strong volleyball program that has done well,” Ramsland added. “I believe this current team has what it takes to win state. It has been a decade since the Trojans have won state in indoor volleyball, and there is no doubt that we have a good chance to win the championship again this year if we play to the best of our ability.”
The Trojans beat No. 2 Snowflake 3-2 in September and No. 5 Odyssey Institute twice but No. 6 Northwest Christian beat Valley Christian 3-0 on Sept. 24 to give the Trojans their only power-ranking loss of the year.
The Lobos are hoping to cash in on a very successful run over the last four years after a semifinal finish last year, a second place run in 2017 and a semifinal finish in 2016. The team will be relying on multiple team leaders to get them to the final match including Jr. OH Reagan Olson, So. OH Macee Papa, Jr. MH Anna Berger, Jr. MB Marynda Caldwell, Sr. DS Kylee Penrod, Jr. S Maci Penrod and Sr. S Savanah Johnson.
No. 3 Tuba City (17-0) and No. 4 Tanque Verde (17-0) round out the top for seeds. Tuba City is led by Sr. OH/MH Jayda Chee, Sr. S Gracie Henderson, FR. OH/MH Melia Barlow, Jr. OH Mikeya Sheppard and Sr. L Emerilee Cowboy and Tanque Verde is led by S/Outside Ainsley Malis and S/L Bri Ede.