Campo Verde was off its game Thursday night. Taken out of it in great part by the play of Division II Section 1 rival and host Queen Creek.
At the end — the very end — No. 3 Campo Verde (in the D-II power-rankings) was just good enough to snare a five-set victory over Queen Creek at Queen Creek High. Scores were 25-21, 18-25, 20-25, 25-23 and 16-14.
“We didn't play real well, but that's not to take anything away from Queen Creek,” Campo Verde coach Tricia Melfy said. “They brought it. Our serve-receive was weak tonight, and that led to us struggling. We like to run a fast offense, but we couldn't do the things we like to do…. We were fortunate to win this one.”
Campo Verde (31-8 overall and 13-0 in power-ranking matches) in the D-II power rankings, squeaked out a fourth set victory to force the fifth. And like it did in the fourth set, Campo Verde began fast with setter Jessi Lammers serving four straight points in a 5-0 beginning. That lead reached 8-2 and 11-5 with middle Audra Beth Dugan, who had a quiet night up to that point, coming away witth four of her nine kills to stoke the early fire.
Nothing, however, came easy for Campo Verde this night. The final set was no exception. Queen Creek called its final timeout down 11-5 and not surprisingly got the ball to standout outside hitter Jasmine Hanna to fuel a comeback. Hanna collected six of her eight kills in a run that rallied Queen Creek to 13-13 and 14-14 deadlocks. Campo Verde's Kaylee Boyse snapped the 14-14 deadlock with a kill and the match ended oddly enough with a Hanna hitting error.
Hanna was unstoppable. The 6-1 senior totaled 37 kills for the match and .397 hitting percentage. Her 37-kill night came on the heels of a 32 kills vs. Marcos de Niza on Tuesday in a 3-1 loss. Hanna is averaging six kills per set this season.
“Jasmine is just lights out,” Melfy said. “You can't stop her. We finally got to where we were serve-receiving better the last set or so and our defense came on. That's what saved us.”
Queen Creek (24-14 overall, 9-4 in power-ranking matches) entered the night at No. 16 in the D-II power rankings. Five of the six D-II sections get two automatic berths at state and the other section gets one automatic berth. That takes care of 11 of the 16 state tournament berths, leaving five at-large.
The match was huge for Queen Creek in that regard as it was trying to tie Campo Verde for the top spot in section play. With the loss Queen Creek likely needs to win out and hope it has at least the second-best record in the section to get an automatic berth at state. Five schools in the 11-team section have two section losses at this point — Queen Creek, Marcos de Niza, McClintock, Higley and Mesquite. Campo Verde leads the section standings at 7-0 followed by McClintock (6-2), Higley (5-2), Queen Creek (5-2), Marcos de Niza (4-2) and Mesquite (4-2).
“I'm proud of them,” Queen Creek coach Erica Crismon said. “There have been losses that have been bad ones. This one hurts. It's disappointing we were so close. But I know they gave e everything they had.”
Hanna got more attack help then usual from teammates Jackie Garvin (13 kills) an Jaymie Richard (seven kills).
“Those two came up big for us,” Crismon said. “I don't think the number can show how well Richard played….
“We know the easiest way for us to make state is be in the top two (section). We have four matches left and we'll have to battle and see.”
Stat leaders for Campo Verde were Haley Christiansen (12 kills), Boyse (11 kills), Misha McDowell (10 kills) and Dugan (nine kills, 3 blocks). Freshman Tatum Adams came through in the back row with 16 digs and libero Maya Doyle had 17 digs. Lammers had five aces, most coming in the final two sets.