Corona del Sol girls volleyball coach Ben Maxfield has used the “young team” talking point quite a bit this season. Starting three freshmen, two sophomores and a junior entitles him.
But with the season reaching the half-way mark, Corona was in need of a quality win in a power-ranking match and the youngsters needed to show some growth. A 5-4 mark in pr matches heading Thursday night against Mountain Pointe was dotted with losses to top-10 teams in Division I and Division II — Hamilton, Desert Vista, Sunnyslope and Mountain Ridge.
Maxfield's squad secured z marquee triumph in a roller-coaster ride Thursday night at home against D-I Section 2 opponent Mountain Pointe. Corona overcame a 12-8 deficit in the decisive fifth set to pull off a 3-2 victory. Scores were 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25 and 15-13.
“We would have lost this match two weeks ago,” Maxfield said. “We've continued to tell them to keep playing, working hard and the results will come.”
Corona (6-4 power-ranking matches) entered the final set on the short end of momentum after losing a seven-point lead in the narrow fourth- set loss. Mountain Pointe (7-2 prm) jumped ahead quickly in the fifth set and never trailed through a 12-8 lead.
A 7-1 run that came out of the blue sent Corona fans home happy. Senior Amanda Eno, who missed most of her junior season and didn't play for the first time this season until last week, came up with a block to start the winning rally. Freshman Logan Wallerstedt and Eno followed with kills to cut the deficit to 12-11.
Mountain Pointe senior outside hitter Christine Winkelman pounded home a winner to briefly stunt the rally and make it 13-11 Mountain Pointe. Mountain Pointe was called for four hits and then Eno and freshman middle Hayden Warnock teamed up for a block to tie the set at 13.
A Wallerstedt kill and the 15th ace of the match by the Aztecs — this one by libero Alyssa Meyer — ended the nearly two-hour battle.
Sophomore Danielle Sullivan topped Corona attackers with 20 kills, followed by Wallerstedt and Eno with 10 apiece. Meyer, besides her match-winning ace, had 36 digs and setter Olivia Ortiz contributed 20 assists.
The drastic momentum swings from set to set made for a tense and exciting match. After Mountain Pointe won the first set, which was tight all the way, the rest of the night was wacky. Corona led 18-11 in the second set only to see Mountain Pointe rally to tie at 18 Corona didn't lose the lead, but needed a kill from Erica Ronda to close it out.
Corona was breezing in the third set with a 24-13 lead. Mountain Pointe gave the Lady Aztecs and Maxfield fits before they scored the winning point, reeling off six straight points and forcing Maxfield to call two timeouts to curb the momentum.
Corona seemed to have the fourth set in hand after an ace by Amanda Macmurtrie made it 19-12. Mountain Pointe seized momentum much like a tidal wave with senior middle Kaylah Lupoe almost single-handedly destroying Corona on the attack. Lupoe had four kills and two blocks, inlcluding the set winning kill that rallied the Lady Pride and forced a fifth set. Lupoe finished with 16 kills unofficially.