By Adam Wolfe
The Maricopa High School volleyball team has won four matches in a row by straight sets.
Since dropping their first match of the season to Horizon Honors High School, the Rams have dominated their competition. This week, they swept through Catalina Magnet High School and Cholla High Magnet School in straight sets.
According to head coach Lashieka Holley, the team has been playing at a high level this week, but the competition has not been the best. The Rams have been as dominant as they should be, but the true test of how good this team is will be in the upcoming weeks when they take on perennial powers such as Florence and Valley Christian high schools.
“We’re still playing at a (Arizona Interscholastic Association) Division II level, so hopefully we’ll carry that into playing some of the better teams we have coming up,” Holley said. “Everything has been good. They slowed down their pace to [their competition], but they were having some fun. My younger players have stepped up, and around the board they all played well.”
Tuesday night, the Rams dominated Catalina in straight sets by scores of 25-8, 25-13, 25-8. As a team, Maricopa controlled the pace of the game. There were times when the Rams seemed to coast a bit and mistakes were made, but the game never seemed to be in doubt.
Senior Elizabeth Gallon was dominant on both serves and defense. Senior Annalyn Concepcion also shined in multiple positions throughout the match.
Overall, Coach Holley was happy with her team’s performance, but felt they were a bit sloppy in their victory. Had they played to their full potential, Holley believes they wouldn’t have given up nearly as many points to the Trojans.
“They definitely need to work on the basic fundamentals,” Holley said. “Our blocks aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of block drills in practice to try to get them to close their blocks. When we see those bigger teams they have strong outside hitters with bigger and taller girls that are more matched to our level. There should be a lot of rallying.”
On Thursday, Maricopa traveled to Tucson to take on the Cholla Chargers. This was the first time the Rams had been on the road since losing to Horizon Honors, and they were able to dispel any worries they couldn’t win outside of Maricopa. The Rams won in straight sets by scores of 25 to 7, 25 to 12 and 25 to 9.
Gallon once again led her team with a standout performance that included eight kills and four blocks. Senior outside hitter Lillian Clay also stepped up in what was only her second match of season. She finished with five kills on the night. Rounding out the top performers was junior Morgan Peters. She kept the Chargers on their heels with 10 aces on the night.
As the Rams move forward, the competition will get increasingly more difficult. The Rams will be participating Saturday’s Greenway Invitation in Phoenix, and their first matchup will be against the talented Moon Valley High School Rockets. The Rams next regular season match will find them on the road against Casa Grande High School on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
“We’re going to need to condition more so we can go five sets,” Holley said. “We haven’t had to go five sets yet, but we’ll need to pick our pace up and play our game. If we play our game we’ll be fine.”