The girls’ volleyball team from Phoenix Horizon is good, perhaps good enough to be considered among the nation’s elite, not just in Arizona.
But the Huskies are not invincible. The Division I defending champions cannot expect to simply walk onto the court and think that an opponent will hand the match over to them.
Horizon had its hands full on Thursday night (Oct. 10).
The Huskies won the first game at Peoria Centennial 25-20, but the host team gave them all they could handle after that.
Centennial broke through for a 25-18 win in the second game. The Coyotes went on a 10-0 run in the third game to take a substantial lead, but Horizon roared back for a 25-23 triumph. The fourth game went back and forth before Horizon slipped away with another 25-23 win to capture the match.
Horizon coach Valorie McKenzie said it was the most difficult match her team (23-1) has had since being taken to five sets by Phoenix Xavier Prep on Sept. 25. Horizon later lost a match in a Las Vegas tournament but came back to sweep the field in a recent tourney in Gilbert that featured some of the state’s top teams.
Even in the first game on Thursday night, Horizon seemed inconsistent, out of sync.
Centennial (11-4) continued to play very well after that, forcing numerous errors.
“Our passing wasn’t great and we put too much pressure on our setters,’’ McKenzie said. “I thought our defense played well.
“That was a big run they (Centennial) had in that third game. The nice thing was that we showed that we have the ability to come back if we need to.’’
The match featured a power duel between Centennial’s Maddie Mertz and Horizon’s Sierra Nobley.
Horizon’s height allowed Nobley to get more help at the net.
Horizon’s next match is at home against Anthem Boulder Creek on Tuesday (Oct. 15), with a rematch at Xaiver on Wednesday (Oct. 16). Centennial plays at Phoenix North Canyon on Tuesday.