Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Arcadia volleyball leaves Ironwood breathless in quartersNov 1, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Jensen Barton and her volleyball teammates from Phoenix Arcadia can breathe a little easier, until Saturday (Nov. 3) at least. That’s when they will play in a Division II state semifinal match.
Barton, a senior, overcame an asthma attack in the second set on Thursday night (Nov. 1), and sixth-seeded Arcadia went on to play one of its best overall matches of the season with a surprising sweep of No. 3 host Glendale Ironwood 25-23, 25-23, 27-25.
Arcadia, the D-II runner-up in 2011, will face No. 2 seed Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep at noon on Saturday at Gilbert Mesquite High. Notre Dame advanced with a sweep of No. 7 Cave Creek Cactus Shadows.
Arcadia coach Josh Olshan and his team endured a five-set win over Queen Creek on Tuesday (Oct. 30), and were focused coming in against Ironwood.
“We could not let down our guard,’’ he said.
The Titans did not. With the 5-foot-11 Barton and 6-2 senior Izzy Miller dominating at the net and senior Stacey Benton using a devastating power serve, Ironwood was in trouble most of the night, despite the close scores.
“They’re (Ironwood) a great team, and we raised our game to their level,’’ Olshan said.
He gave credit to Barton for overcoming her health issue, called Miller phenomenal and said Benton might just be the best server in the nation.
By the end of the match, Olshan nearly had lost his voice after being animated on the bench as he urged his team on.
“This team is a lot of fun,’’ he said. “I keep telling them, “You’re going to make me die a young man,’ but my assistant said, “Don’t worry, you’re old,’ ’’ Olshan said.
He said the race for the title is still wide open.
“There is no way you can look past anybody,’’ he said.
Barton said she and her teammates were excited going into the Ironwood match. Arcadia also had defeated the Eagles in last year’s quarterfinals, “and we wanted to prove that wasn’t a fluke,’’ she said.
She said she made a mistake by not eating much earlier in the day, and during the second game, she started shaking and had a bit of difficulty breathing.
“My inhaler didn’t really work, either,’’ she said. “So our trainer had a Cliff Bar (energy bar) in their bag and that helped.’’
The girls are excited again to play in the semifinals.
“We feed off each other’s excitement and energy,’’ Barton said.