Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Horizon tunes up for VB tourney by sweeping XavierOct 4, 2012
By Don Ketchum
It was Horizon-Xavier volleyball, “The Sequel,’’ on Thursday night (Oct. 4) and Phoenix Xavier Prep was hoping for a different outcome from the first time the teams met on Sept. 11, when Phoenix Horizon won in four sets.
The story ended the same, only this time, host Horizon swept the match 25-20, 25-20, 25-17 to gain some momentum going into the big Goldwater Volleyball Festival that begins Friday (Oct. 5) and continues Saturday (Oct. 6).
“Xavier always plays tough and you know you have to play well against them. We had a good, hard practice yesterday (Wednesday),’’ said Horizon coach Valorie McKenzie, whose team improved to 24-2 while Xavier fell to 19-8.
Blocks were the order of the match for Horizon, with Nikki Hess, Sierra Nobley and Jensen Cunningham providing most of those. Horizon has one of the tallest front lines in the state.
“Our front row played well and we have really improved our blocking,’’ McKenzie said.
Play on the back row needs a bit more work going into the Goldwater and beyond.
“The back row needs to work more on knowing where the (opposing) hitters are coming from and where they are going to,’’ McKenzie said.
Playing a lot of matches in the Goldwater will allow McKenzie to play most of her roster and try different combinations, especially since some of her girls will be involved with taking SAT’s (Standard Aptitude Tests) on Saturday.
“We need to stay steady, stay consistent, have everybody play with consistency,’’ she said.
Hess played tough with kills and blocks in the first set, and Xavier struggled with getting the ball over the next on some of its serves.
Nobley joined the fun in the second set. Xavier led early, but Horizon came back. Xavier tried to pull closer near the end, but again was short-circuited by some of its serves.
Horizon led 11-6 in the third set and pulled away with a 7-0 run.