Desert Vista girls volleyball team ran its power-ranking record to 5-0 on Monday night and all the damage they've done has been on the road.
The Lady Thunde.r had to scratch and claw the final five points of each set, but prevailed in three of those to turn back host Corona del Sol, 25-20, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21 at Sammy Duane Gymnasium.
“I think it came down to the girls making different decisions (at crunch time),” Desert Vista coach Molly West said. “Corona del Sol did a nice job on defense. They're a young team, but(Corona del Sol coach) Ben (Maxfield) always has them playing good defense.”
Desert Vista (5-0 and all power-ranking games), gets to practice in its own gym later this week and finally will play a real home match there next week. The Lady Thunder knocked off Mountain Ridge, Chaparral, Mesa High and Xavier prior to Monday night. The win over Xavier last Thursday was a rare win over the Gators and even more rare since it was a 3-0 sweep. Desert Vista has swept three of ts final opponents The Thunder start only one senior, Vanessa Wesley.
Desert Vista outlasted Corona in what was a wildly inconsistent match on both sides. Corona (7-5-1 overall, 1-3 power-point matches) had things going its way in the first set with an 11-7 lead. A Desert Vista timeout got the Lady Thunder back on track and they quickly tied the match at 11 and it see-sawed until Desert Vista ran off the final four points for the win.
The second set saw Desert Vista take command at 14-9, only to see Corona battle back and take a 20-19 lead after the Lady Thunder were called for a lift. Three successive kills — two by senior middle Wesley and a closing ace by Josalyn Benson made it 2-0 Desert Vista.
Corona del Sol kept battling in the third set and easily could have been finished after trailing early, 11-6. The Lady Aztecs charged back and actually led 21-18 with momentum. Corona forced a fourth set using a service error by Desert Vista and a lights-out kill by Danielle Sullivan.
Both teams had four- or five-point leads in the fourth set (Desert Vista up 10-5 and later Corona in front (16-12). The set finally was knotted at 19 when a block and kill by Desert Vista's Hailey Harward and an ace by Kirstyn Sperry opened up a 23-19 lead and ultimately the win for the Lady Thunder.
Desert Vista was paced offensively by Wesley with 14 kills, Harward with 12 kills and Matisse Monty (9 kills). West was especially appreciative of “rock star” libero Lexi Glover's 23 digs. Harward added three blocks, Wesley 2 1/2 and Monty 1 1/2.
“I know we are 1-3, but I'm very pleased with how we are playing considering how young we are,” Corona coach Ben Maxfield said. “I thought the fourth set we had them on the defensive a little bit and forced them into some errors. …
“We are trying to play good volleyball for longer periods of time. We're making progress. I told our team we can play with anyone. We have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Corona, which starts one senior, one junior, two sophomores and two freshman, were led by freshmen Erica Ronda (16 kills) and Logan Wallerstedt (12 kills). Junior libero Alyssa Meyer had 32 digs and senioir setter Sava Gulstad contributed 34 assists. The Lady Aztecs losses are to Sunnyslope, Mountain Ridge and Desert Vista. They also lost the final of the House of Payne Invite to Gilbert. All four schools are title contenders in their respective divisions.