AIA365 Staff Insiders
Another amazing volleyball achievement for Veritas' SponcilDec 13, 2013, by Don Ketchum, Staff Writer, AIA365.com
Sarah Sponcil was close to tearing her hair out.
She had nearly a week’s worth of schoolwork to make up in just a short time at Phoenix Veritas Prep.
Certainly not easy, but it was worth it.
The senior had just returned from a whirlwind trip to Puerto Rico, where she and teammate Zana Muno won the two-player sand volleyball title in the North America Central America Caribbean Volleyball Federation (NORCECA) Central Zone Tournament.
By defeating Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara 21-19, 19-21, 16-14, on Sunday (Dec. 8), Sponcil and Muno qualified for a spot in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, from Aug. 16-28, 2014.
Sponcil said this is one of her career highlights, and she has had many. She has played on numerous all-star teams, won three state championships at Veritas and is a three-time recipient of the azcentral.com Small School Player of the Year honor.
Sponcil has honed her craft on southern California beaches the last several summers. It has given her an increased awareness of where she, her teammates and opponents are and what to do with the ball when she gets it.
“We have played sand volleyball at a couple of places here, but when you play in California, it’s a different world,’’ Sponcil said. “Over here, you think you are pretty good and then you go over there. The sand here is about two inches on top of dirt. Over there, it is deep and you sink in. You have to adjust to that and be ready for anything.’’
The Loyola-Marymount (Calif.)-bound Sponcil (sand and indoor) played with Peoria Centennial’s Maddie Mertz (Tulane) and had played against Muno (UCLA) before. She and Muno decided to team up for some tournaments in late summer and went on to win the Cal Cup Youth Beach Volleyball Tournament.
NORCECA officials took notice. About 10 days before the tournament in Puerto Rico started, Sponcil received a call asking if she and Muno would be interested in playing. She and Muno quickly made travel plans and boarded the big silver bird. Sponcil was accompanied by her father, Wayne, a long-time volleyball coach in the Valley and an assistant coach at Veritas for head coach Wes Goodwin.
“It was kind of late notice and we had to make a quick decision. It was something we felt we couldn’t pass up, It was an honor to play in the tournament,’’ Sarah said.
“I’m kind of freaking out right now having to make up the schoolwork, but this was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’’
Sponcil flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and flew to Puerto Rico on Thursday, Dec. 5. She and Muno had time for a light practice session on Friday (Dec. 6), and they played four matches on Saturday (Dec. 7) and the semifinals and finals on Sunday. Sponcil returned home Tuesday (Dec. 10).
Sponcil and Muno developed a good working relationship pretty much from the start.
Teams such as Olympic gold medal winners Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor have a certain strategy. Walsh is 6-feet-2 inches tall and May is about 5-9, so Walsh handles a lot of the blocks and May’s main point of concentration is defense.
Sponcil and Muno are nearly the same height (about 5-10).
“We split the blocks. We are pretty versatile. I’d say we are more or less identical players,’’ Sponcil said.
She is leaning toward a career in sports medicine. The curriculum at Veritas is strict and tough, but she said she has survived with As and Bs.
“I just want to be involved with sports in the future,’’ she said. “It has allowed me to experience a lot of things.’’
East Valley soccer invites, schedules & results Dec.9-14Dec 12, 2013, by Les Willsey, Staff Writer, AIA365.com
Soccer invitationals continue in the East Valley this week with the annual Bill Vanney/Tempe Diablos Classic (boys and girls) Dec. 9-13 and Campo Verde Tournament (boys and girls) Dec. 9, 11-14.
Here are sites, matchups, times and results for each tournament:
2013 Campo Verde Soccer Tournament (all matches at Campo Verde HS)
Pool A -- Campo Verde, Perry, Mesa, Mountain View. Pool B -- Basha, Cactus Shadows, Liberty, Dobson.
Saturday's results --Perry 1, Campo Verde 0; Basha 2, Cactus Shadow 2; Liberty 1, Dobson 0; Mesa 4, Mtn. View 3.
Monday's results -- Perry 0, Mesa 0; Campo Verde 3, Mountain View 1; Basha 3, Dobson 2.
Wednesday's results -- Liberty 1, Basha 1; Mesa 2, Campo Verde 0; Mountain View 1, Perry 1.
Thursday's results -- Liberty 3, Cactus Shadows 0; Dobson 3, Cactus Shadows 3.
Friday Dec. 13 -- Semifinals -- 4 p.m. -- Mesa vs. Basha; 6:15 -- Liberty vs. Perry.
Saturday Dec. 14 -- 3rd-place -- 11 a.m. --Mesa-Basha loser vs .Liberty-Perry loser; Championship -- 1 p.m. -- Mesa-Basha winner vs. Liberty-Perry winner.
Competing schools -- Basha, Campo Verde, Casa Grande
Saturday's results -- Basha 7, Casa Grande 0; Basha 1, Campo Verde 0.
Wednesday's result -- Campo Verde 9, Casa Grande 0.
Thursday's results -- Basha 1, Campo Verde 0; Basha 10, Casa Grande 0.
Saturday Dec. 14 - 9 a.m. -- Casa Grande vs. Campo Verde.
Bill Vanney/Tempe Diablos Soccer Classic (all matches at Tempe Sports Complex)
Pool A -- Hamilton, Mountain Pointe, Highland, Chaparral; Pool B -- Chandler, Corona del Sol, Skyline, Mesquite; Pool C -- Desert Vista, Red Mountain, Gilbert, Westwood
Monday's results -- Hamilton 4, Chaparral 0; Highland 3, Mountain Pointe 0; Gilbert 3, Red Mountain 0; Chandler 1, Mesquite 0; Corona del Sol 1, Skyline 0; Desert Vista 4, Westwood 0.
Tuesday's results -- Chaparral 4, Mountain Pointe 2; Chandler 4, Skyline 1; Gilbert 5, Desert Vista 4; Hamilton 2, Highland 0; Corona del Sol 3, Mesquite 0; Westwood 4, Red Mountain 2.
Wednesday's results -- Chaparral 4, Highland 0; Hamilton 4, Mountain Pointe 1; Gilbert 4, Westwood 1; Chandler 3, Corona del Sol 0; Desert Vista 2, Red Mountain 0; Skyline 1, Mesquite 0.
Thursday''s results -- Semifinals -- Hamilton 2, Desert Vista 0; Chandler 3, Gilbert 0.
Friday Dec. 13 -- Championship -- 6 p.m. -- Hamilton vs. Chandler
Pool A -- Highland, Mountain Pointe, Corona del Sol, Chandler; Pool B -- Hamilton, Gilbert, Mountain View; Pool C -- Red Mountain, Perry, Desert Vista.
Monday's results -- Highland 4, Mountain Pointe 0; Hamilton 2, Red Mountain 2; Gilbert 3, Perry 3. Chandler 1, Corona del Sol 0; Desert Vista 4, Mountain View 0.
Tuesday's results -- Chandler 3, Mountain Pointe 1; Hamilton 3, Perry 0; Desert Vista 3, Gilbert 2; Mountain View 3, Red Mountain 1; Highland 1, Corona del Sol 0.
Wednesday results -- Highland 1, Chandler 0; Hamilton 1, Desert Vista 0; Gilbert 2, Red Mountain 1; Corona del Sol 1, Mountain Pointe 0; Perry 2, Mountain View 0.
Thursday's results -- Semifinals -- Highland 2, Desert Vista 1; Hamilton 1, Chandler 0
Friday Dec. 13 -- Championship -- Highland vs. Hamilton
Title matches set for boys, girls Diablos Soccer ClassicDec 12, 2013, by Les Willsey, Staff Writer, AIA365.com
Bri Hatch scored off a corner kick in the final three minutes Thursday night to give Highland's girls a 2-1 victory over Desert Vista in a semifinal match at the Bill Vanney-Tempe Diablos Soccer Classic at Tempe Sports Complex.
Hatch managed to convert the game-winner off a corner from Jackie Strom. Highland also scored in the final minute or two of the first half with Tori Rinsem doing the honors. That tied the match at intermission.
Desert Vista (3-3) scored earlier in the first half with midfielder Brooke Leftwich giving her team its only lead. The teams met last week in a power-point match that Highland prevailed in, 3-2. Highland scored late in the match in that one for the victory.
Highland (5-0) plays for the championship Friday (Dec. 13) at 6 p.m. at Tempe Sports Complex against Hamilton (6-0-1). Hamilton used a late goal in the first half by Kylie Miniefield to edge rival Chandler, 1-0. Chandler dropped to 2-4 on the season, losing both game in the tournament by scores of 1-0.
In the boys tournament, Chandler (6-0) and Hamilton (7-0) were both dominant in winning semifinal matches over Gilbert and Desert Vista, respectively. Hamilton and Chandler meet Friday (Dec. 13) at 6 p.m. also at Tempe Sports Complex.
Chandler got a goal in each half from AB Hurtado and one in the first half from Pablo Hernandez in blanking previously unbeaten Gilbert, 3-0. Hamilton played its match pretty much at its end of the field in turning back Desert Vista, 2-0. Gilbert is now 6-1 and Desert Vista dropped to 2-4.
The Huskies scored on a missle by Gabe Para-Munoz in the 28th minute. The Huskies added one their second goal in teh 59th minute with Connor Follet tallying off a nice pass from Sam Mazzola. Desert Vista keeper Tim O'Brien kept the score from being a couple goal more with several outstanding saves.
Blue Ridge's Moro to coach Poston ButteDec 12, 2013, by Jose Garcia, Multimedia Journalist/Historian
The Florence Unified School District confirmed Friday that Blue Ridge's Paul Moro will become Poston Butte's next football coach.
“We are pretty excited,” Florence Unified School District assistant superintendent Chris Knutsen said.
In 30 seasons, Moro won 13 state titles at Blue Ridge, the only school Moro had coached at before accepting the Poston Butte job.
Moro is one of only four coaches in Arizona history to win 300 games (319-52 record).
Desert Ridge started week of soccer invites in EV with winsDec 12, 2013, by Les Willsey, Staff Writer, AIA365.com
Desert Ridge began a bountiful week of boys and girls soccer invitationals in the East Valley by winning its own Cactus Cup tournaments (boys and girls) on Dec.7.
Desert Ridge's boys were 5-0 in the tournament and are 6-0 on the season. Leading the Jaguars in their tournament triumph were Josh Barnes (four goals and three assists), Alex Petty (four goals) and Austin Schafer (two goals and four assists). Defenders Brian Hickey and Allen Brown and keeper Alec Donavan helped limit the oppostion to three goals in six games this season. Desert Ridge defeated Seton, Higley, La Joya and Fountain Hills twice. The Jags topped Fountain Hills, 2-0, in the championship match.
Desert Ridge's girls also posted a 5-0 record, outscoring their five opponents, 22-1. The only goal allowed against keeper Cassidy Frost came in the 60th minute of the title match. Desert Ridge's girls are 7-0 for the season with a pair of power-point match wins over Mesa High and Queen Creek in addition to their tournament victories. The Lady Jaguars defeated Safford (twice), Tempe Prep, Gilbert Classical and Higley. They topped Higley in the title match, 2-1.
Xavier outside hitter Khalia Lanier receives national honorDec 12, 2013, by Don Ketchum, Staff Writer, AIA365.com
The volleyball accolades are starting to stack up for Phoenix Xavier Prep outside hitter Khalia Lanier, and she should accumulate many more by the time she leaves the Gators in two more years.
The 6-foot-2 Lanier, who led Xavier to the Division I championship and who was named azcentral.com’s Big School Player of the Year, was a second-team selection on the 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Volleyball Team.
Lanier was the only player from Arizona so honored.