Phoenix Sunnyslope served notice on Thursday night (Oct. 24) that it just might be considered the front-runner for the Division II girls volleyball championship.
The Vikings were No. 2 in Arizona Interscholastic Association power points entering their match at Phoenix Paradise Valley, and PV was No. 1.
Sunnyslope silenced PV’s red-clad crowd with a dominating performance, sweeping the Trojans out the door with a 25-21, 25-12, 25-10 victory.
Sunnyslope climbed to 31-6, while PV slipped to 18-2.
It seemed like every time Paradise Valley tried to do something, Sunnyslope would anticipate it almost before it happened.
If the Vikings didn’t know it already, coach Amber LeTarte emphasized the importance of playing well before this key match.
“We came in prepared and focused because we knew we were playing a strong team,’’ LeTarte said.
“We talked about playing “Slope ball.’ It’s just our game, having consistency and a quick offense.
“On defense, we made sure we were in the right positions and tried to anticipate every ball.’’
And the Vikings had an instinct of domination.
“If we got the lead, we wanted to make sure we stayed on top and didn’t allow the other team to get back into the game,’’ LeTarte said.
Senior outside hitter Jenny Thompson led the way for the Vikings, although the way her teammates played, she was not overextended as she might be in other situations.
Sunnyslope also used its height advantage with sophomores Skylar Wine and Emma Wright, both more than 6 feet. And middle blocker Felicity Gesina had one of her better matches.
Paradise Valley was applying pressure late in the first game, pulling to within 23-21 on a service ace by Danielle Brown. But the next serve was long and Sunnyslope took the game when a Paradise Valley block went out of bounds.
Sunnyslope stayed in control in Game 2, with a kill by Wine to finish it off. PV stayed close in the early moments of Game 3, but Sunnyslope pulled away. Another kill by Wine secured the match.
“We’re starting to get fired up, get in a good routine. We just need to keep it up,’’ LeTarte said.