The girls volleyball team from Phoenix Veritas Prep is fortunate to have Sarah Sponcil back for her senior season.
The two-time Arizona Republic Small Schools Player of the Year and last season’s Gatorade Player of the Year honoree can do virtually anything on the floor.
She can dig the ball from the back row, set up teammates with excellent passes and then seemingly suspend herself in mid-air, like combatants in the Matrix movies, before making opponents retreat with powerful kill after kill after kill.
All of that said, she can’t do it alone. Yes, Veritas has won three straight state championships, but the Falcons have moved from Division V to Division IV, where a whole new world awaits.
“There are so many good teams in this division. I tell the girls to focus on every match as if it were a championship-caliber match. No team is going to roll over,’’ said Veritas coach Wes Goodwin.
Such was the case on Tuesday night (Sept. 17), when visiting Tempe Prep stood its ground before falling in four games, 17-25, 12-25, 25-22 and 14-25.
“Lisa (Barlow, Tempe Prep coach) does a good job with her team,’’ Goodwin said. “And there are others . . . Scottsdale Christian, Northwest Christian, Sedona (Red Rock) and Horizon Honors.’’
Veritas will attempt to maintain its momentum on Wednesday night (Sept. 18) with a home match against Phoenix Country Day School.
Sponcil, who has made an oral commitment to Loyola-Marymount in California, was everywhere as usual against Tempe Prep.
She got help from fellow senior, libero Abby Hickman, and sophomore outside hitter Kelly Anderson, who could be the heir apparent.
In a way, it was a good thing that Tempe Prep came back for a win in Game 3, according to Goodwin. Senior outside hitter Kaitlin Shroll was one of the keys for the Knights.
Tempe Prep played Veritas pretty much even in the early stages of Game 4, before Veritas started to pull away.
“When they came back and won, I got kind of nervous. Hopefully it will keep us on our toes and we can learn from it,’’ said Goodwin, whose team is 6-2, including recent tournament losses to a pair of bigger schools, Queen Creek and Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.