The Eagles of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor are ready for the Division I state volleyball tournament to begin next week.
They are ready and then some.
On Tuesday night (Oct. 29), they bested rival Glendale Mountain Ridge in four sets.
And Wednesday night’s (Oct. 30) effort might have been even better.
SDO, third in Division I power points, was down 2-1 against visiting Phoenix Sunnyslope, the Division II points leader.
The Eagles maintained their composure to win Game 4 and force a decisive Game 5. They spotted the Vikings a 4-0 lead and trailed later 11-10, but came back to take the match with a 15-13 victory on a night when the senior players were honored.
The scores were 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19 and 15-13.
SDO raised its record to 32-6, while Sunnyslope fell to 33-7.
Play was outstanding on both sides.
“We knew they (Sunnyslope) were good. We had watched them in tournaments,’’ SDO coach Bill Bellis said. “It was an emotional beginning for us (pre-match ceremony). Something good can come out of that, or something can hurt you.
“We were able to finally play better. The situation was almost a duplicate of last night (vs. Mountain Ridge).’’
SDO senior outside hitter Kalie Lyle was a major factor, matching Sunnyslope star Jenny Thompson kill for kill. Neither player is tall, but they put themselves in just the right position to unleash a great deal of power. Lyle also provided some effective serves at key moments.
Paige Hamilton, Sterling Williamson and Jessica Licurgo were effective at the net on offense and defense, and libero Jesse Hover was all over the place.
“We don’t really have one main player – everybody contributes,’’ Bellis said. “We have five girls who are pretty much even in the number of kills.’’
He agreed that playing a quality opponent such as Sunnyslope will help prepare his team for state.
The state brackets will be announced at 3 p.m. on Friday in a live bracket show on AIA365.com.
Sunnyslope coach Amber LeTarte would have preferred a victory, but did not go back home completely full of frustration.
“We knew when we got here we would be in for a good match,’’ she said.
“We played five games and we had yet to be in one of those this season, so I think it helps us in terms of our endurance and pushing all the way to the end. Hopefully that will help us in the tournament. We have to continue to be aggressive.’’