Let’s face it – there’s no doubting Collin Russell’s ability and dedication to the sport of volleyball.
He is willing to do whatever it takes to help Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor win.
It happened on Tuesday night (April 29), when the Eagles took an impressive 3-1 win over visiting rival Anthem Boulder Creek. The scores were 26-24, 22-25, 25-20 and 25-22.
O’Connor, sixth in power points, raised its record to 21-10. No. 5 Boulder Creek fell to 28-12.
“Both teams had circles on their calendars,’’ said O’Connor coach Kyle Brainard.
One of them was Russell. He said many members of both teams play on the same club teams and are always trash-talking.
Russell, a 6-foot-3 senior, let his actions speak louder than words.
O’Connor wanted to prevent Boulder Creek from gaining the upper hand down the stretch of the third set. The Eagles led 23-19 when the Jaguars sent a rocket toward the back line with what appeared to be a sure kill.
Russell stretched out and the ball literally went off his face as he kept the point alive and the Eagles went on to make it 24-19.
“I was wondering, “Is he going to get up?’ ’’ Brainard said.
Russell did, and went on to provide another key save in the match’s final point in set No. 4. He also had several key kills throughout.
“Collin without a doubt is a leader for this team. He is a selfless player,’’ Brainard said.
“We were relentless tonight. What you saw tonight was the way we play in practice, and the way we try to play in matches. We were down six or seven points in the middle of the first set and came back. We dropped the second set, but we kept working. It took teamwork from all 16 guys.’’
Kaelon Lattomus, Tommy Dymond and Jacob Smith also played well for the Eagles. Ryne Benson and Cody Williams had strong efforts for Boulder Creek.
It will be interesting to learn what Russell does next.
Three weeks ago, he was in a mountain-biking accident and broke his nose.
“I think I’m going to wait until after the season is over before I ride again,’’ he said with a laugh.
That probably is a wise decision.