Before Tuesday night (Nov. 5), Phoenix Sunnyslope’s previous volleyball match resulted in a loss. Granted, the Vikings are Division II and they were facing Division I Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, but a loss is still a loss.
“Having a loss gives you a reality check,’’ said Sunnyslope coach Amber LeTarte. “We realized that we are not unbeatable, that we had to play our game the next time out.’’
That next time out was Tuesday night (Nov. 5), when the third-seeded Vikings opened the Division II state tournament with a home match against No. 14 Tucson Salpointe Catholic.
Sunnyslope indeed did play its game, rolling up a sweep 25-12, 25-20 and 25-21.
The Vikings advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday night (Nov. 7) and will face No. 11 Glendale Ironwood, which defeated No. 6 Buckeye Verrado. Sunnyslope swept Ironwood in its second match of the season.
“We’re both different teams now,’’ LeTarte said.
That would seem to indicate that Sunnyslope is better.
Better, perhaps, but still in need of a bit of fine-tuning.
In the first game against Salpointe, “We were able to stay consistent,’’ LeTarte said. “But the intensity let up in games two and three. We need to continue realize that especially now, every point of every game is serious.’’
Sunnyslope indeed dominated in Game 1, getting kills across the board from a number of different players.
Salpointe proved to be a more formidable opponent in Game 2, pulling as close as 22-20 on a service ace by Dionicia Colon-Mateo. Then Sunnyslope responded with three straight kills, two by Jenny Thompson and one by Allison Spencer.
Salpointe had a power game, too, getting several kills from Dominique Velde in Game 3. Again, the Lancers remained lose, tying it at 21.
The Vikings then finished off the match, getting a kill from Thompson, a block out-of-bounds from Salpointe and then a service ace.