Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Horizon volleyball overcomes fatigue, turns away XavierSep 11, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Phoenix Horizon volleyball coach Valorie McKenzie admitted her team was exhausted after it won nine matches on the way to earning the title of the (Mesa) Westwood Tournament of Champions over the weekend.
And the Huskies played like it early on in their road match at Phoenix Xavier Prep on Tuesday night (Sept. 11).
Horizon, the Division I runner-up to Gilbert last season, trailed 6-1 against Xavier, then came back to win the first game 25-20. The second game also went the Huskies’ way 25-17 before Xavier rebounded to win Game 3 26-24. Horizon put the match away with a 25-18 win in the fourth game to raise its record to 14-0.
Horizon has lost just three games all season, two in a five-game win over Scottsdale Chaparral and the one on Tuesday night.
“It took us a little while to find our rhythm,’’ McKenzie said.
“These girls are mentally tough. They were able to stay calm and stay consistent. They settled in and played team volleyball.’’
Xavier, which won five of six Class 5A Division I titles from 2005-2010, slipped to 8-4.
McKenzie said Xavier “started mixing it up well in that third game and got a little momentum. We were able to get some of it back after that.’’
She said sophomore libero Jordan Anderson played well.
“She was able to pass, dig and hit,’’ McKenzie said.
Junior outside hitter Sierra Nobley played the back and front lines with consistency, and senior outside hitter Nikki Hess, the team leader, had another strong all-around effort.
Horizon had a decided advantage in height and was able to come up with several key blocks.
Xavier is somewhat younger than it has been in the past, but this season has a freshman who is a rising star. She is outside hitter Khahlia Lanier, the youngest daughter of long-time NBA star Bob Lanier.
Khahlia combines power with a soft touch, can jump and block the ball.