Campo Verde escaped Tuesday night with a narrow win in its first set against Seton Catholic. That seemed to set the tone for a four- or five-set match.
But the Lady Coyotes took the momentum of the opening-set triumph and ran with it to dispatch the Lady Sentinels in three, 26-24, 25-18, 25-10 in a matchup of title contenders in their respective divisions at Campo Verde High School.
Campo Verde, improving to 7-2 overall and 2-0 in power-point contests, was a Division III quarterfinalist last year and Seton (2-1 in power poitn matches) was a D-III semifinalist. Campo Verde has moved up to D-II this season, but had the upper hand last year with two regular-season wins over Seton. The teams finished last seaon equally matched and the same was anticipated Tuesday. It happened in the first set only.
Campo Verde managed to tally the final three points of the first set to prevail. Neither team led by more than two points the entire set to prove how close it was. Whatever it was, however, play in sets two and three snowballed Campo Verde's way.
"It was definitely not our best showing," Seton coach Sonia Jones said. "We're both top contenders I believe, but it turned out not what I hoped it would be. You have to give it their middles. They were so consisent. I chock it up to a tough mental night for us."
Jones gave credit where credit was due citing the work of Campo Verde senior middle blockers Misha McDowell and Audra Beth Dugan. Campo Verde coach Tricia Melfy confirmed Jones' assessment.
"Our middles were great," Melfy said. "We didn't do a real good job on serve receive, but our digging and defense were solid. We got it to our middles, and they caused problems."
McDowell piled up 12 kills in 20 attempts and added three blocks. Dugan chipped in with seven kills on 15 attempts and 2 1/2 blocks to blunt Seton often at the net.
On defense it was Maya Doyle and Haley Christiansen anchorng that aspect with 12 and 10 digs, respectively, and Kaylee Boyse posted five kills and nine digs
Senior setter Jessi Lamars presided ove the final two sets for Campo Verde and finished with 21 assists for the night. She added two aces. Lammers served four straight points to open the second set and start Campo Verde on the way to an easier night than expected. Sarah Richards did the setting in set one and notched 10 assists.
Seton was led by NIcole Kinsey wtth eight kills and teammates Reggie Van Devender and Alexis Falatyn had six apiece. Van Devender and Rielyn Hoffman led the Lady Sentinels in digs with 17 and 13, respectively.
Both teams played in invitationals this past weekend with strong showings. Campo Verde went 5-2 and reached the semis of the House of Payne Invite at Chandler High. Seton took fifth at the Payson Invitational where last year's D-III finalists (Safford and Tuba City) faced off for the title with Safford winning at Payson.