Defeating Superior, 3-0, and Rock Point, 3-1, on Friday, North Phoenix Prep, 3-2, in the semifinal on Saturday, third-seeded St. David emerged as Class 1A state volleyball runner up.
The straight-set, 3-0 loss in the title game to top-seeded Mogollon, is misleading. Make no mistake, the Tigers gave the Mustangs all they could handle.
After St. David dropped the opening set of the championship match 19-25, the Tigers fell short 22-25 and 25-27. That game came after the grueling semifinal with North Phoenix Prep that saw St. David drop the first set 19-25, take the next 25-21, dropping the ensuing game 23-25, before taking the next two games, 25-19, 15-12.
Despite falling short of the overall goal, St. David coach Tylene Miller is more than pleased by the effort and showing.
“This group of volleyball girls overcame a lot this year,” she said. “They worked hard and learned how to play as a team — it sure showed at state. I couldn't of ask for anything more from this group of young ladies. They gave me their all and left it all on the court, they fought to the end. I am so proud of them.”
The balanced effort and attack is evidenced by the stat sheet.
In the championship match, Jaylin Richardson helped supply the power with 11 kills and which also included 20 digs, 11 blocks and 14 of 14 serving; Brylee Murray had 45 digs; Kyra Richardson was 10 for 11 serving, six kills and blocks, nine digs; Daisy Merrill, two aces, 16 of 17 serving, 27 assists, 11 digs and two kills; Kyla Trejo 14 for 14 serving, 44 digs, two kills and blocks. Goldi Merrill, 8 for 8 serving, 20 digs; Jaelyn Goodman, three kills, one dig, four blocks; Jorja Moore, 4 for 4 serving, one dig.
Heart and effort was a resounding theme among team members.
“I’m really proud of how far we came,” commented Murray. “We left it all on the court and that’s all I could’ve asked for… through some amazing coaching, we accomplished what we thought we couldn’t.”
“We were thrilled to have made it to the championship game; we knew it was going to be a tough game,” added Jaylin Richardson. “We played as a team, gave it our all, and fought until the very end. We would have never made it that far if it wasn’t for our awesome coaches who pushed us and encouraged us our whole season. I’m grateful I got to play for the coaches I did and play with the girls I played with.”
“We played our hearts out and we trusted each other,” said Kyra Richardson. “We truly left it all on the court. We wanted that state title bad, but in the end they were the better team. I look forward to winning it all next year.”
“We played with our hearts this weekend and left all that we had on the court,” added Kyla Trejo. “I couldn't be prouder of how far we made it as a team this volleyball season. Congratulations to Mogollon for a win they deserved,” said Daisy Merrill.
The Tigers end the season with an impressive 20-7 overall record and an unbeaten 10-0 mark in 1A South Region.