For West Valley Preps
They came into tonight’s match up with similar records overall – the 6A #11 seed Chaparral Firebirds, 27-12-1 on the year and the #22 Valley Vista Monsoon, 24-13-1.
Those are just numbers however. A more important number when it came to playing for a spot in the state tournament Thursday night was each team’s experience.
Valley Vista is a young team with one senior on the squad and two juniors. Chaparral on the other hand boasts five seniors and six juniors, one of those being senior outside hitter Amber Stivrins – a Louisville commit.
It was the FIrebirds’ experience that catapulted them into the main draw, as they won the match in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, and 25-17.
Valley Vista lone senior, Anna Myers, is an NCAA Division 1 commit in her own right. She’ll be headed to Central Arkansas next year.
With that kind of youth, it’s a given that the Monsoon are very optimistic about the future.
“We’re should be stacked the next few years and are very excited for our program, said Valley Vista head coach David Chavez.
One of those standout underclassmen is sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Moore. Junior Raeana Collier also had a strong showing Thursday from the middle blocker position.
Valley Vista did their best early in each set to keep it close but Chaparral was consistently able to put them away with tough defense at the net and capitalizing off of Monsoon mistakes in positioning. Throughout the match Chaparral was able to soft-tap the ball into Valley Vista defensive holes.
Early in set one tied 8-8 the Monsoon benefited from aggressive defensive play scraping a couple of good defensive digs and turning them into points. The Monsoon front line could not keep up with Chaparral’s however as the Firebirds up-front trio was able to consistently block would-be Monsoon scorers at the net.
Moving into set two, Chaparral was able to pull away early up 8-3 – again capitalizing off of Monsoon errors in positioning. The Firebirds scored two points early due to miscommunication by the Monsoon.
On those plays no Monsoon player actively played the ball. Chaparral went up 12-4 in the set before Valley Vista began to mount a comeback and were able to capitalize this time off of Chaparral mistakes serving.
A couple of net balls gave Valley Vista some much needed momentum. Unfortunately, the Monsoon were not able to come up with any defensive stops and the comeback assault was relegated to trading points losing the set, 25-16.
Chaparral did not pull away easily in the third set as the game was tied, 4-4, 7-7, 8-8, and 9-9 early before a few more untimely positioning mistakes by the Monsoon cost them.
“A few of the kids are freshman and sometimes they lack the discipline to keep and sometimes they’re not where they need to be. I respect the other team but I don’t believe they necessarily overpowered. There were really just a good number of mistakes on our side,” said Monsoon head coach David Chavez.
Tied 9-9 Chaparral went on a seven point run breaking the tie and gunning it to the win.
“I think we played all right. We controlled the whole game and it was a good test for next week. Our team kind of thrives off of what Amber does but a big shift for us this year was when we moved Lexy Lewis to libero. After that move we were then able to turn the corner on defense. We have enough offense and as long as we engage on defense the offense is always there,” said Chaparral head coach Chad Speer.
Chaparral moves on to play in the first round of the 6A state tournament next Tuesday, Oct. 30.