I-A VOLLEYBALL: Sierra Vista tops Virgin Valley, earns return trip to state

Sierra Vista’s girls volleyball team came up short of its ultimate goal last season, losing to Faith Lutheran in the Division I-A state final.

The Mountain Lions earned another trip to state on Thursday night with a 22-25, 28-26, 25-18, 25-15 victory over Virgin Valley in the Southern Region semifinals at Faith Lutheran.

With the win, the Mountain Lions (20-12) will face two-time defending state champ Faith Lutheran (27-11), a 3-0 winner over Boulder City, in Friday’s final.

Both winners from Thursday qualify for next week’s state tournament.

It certainly wasn’t easy for Sierra Vista, which dropped the opening set and appeared on the brink of a two-set deficit.

With the Bulldogs holding a set point in the second set, Virgin Valley had trouble with substitutions trying to get the right personnel on the floor. The Mountain Lions took full advantage and regrouped, winning four of the next five points to even the match.

“Crazy things happen sometimes in volleyball,” Sierra Vista coach Camille McComas said. “I knew there was a problem with one of their subs, but that was for the officials to work out. Winning this match was certainly a relie; nothing comes for free in this game.”

Led by the frontline play of Shantalle Demirjian and Bridgette Levi, the Mountain Lions rolled to a quick four-point lead in the third set. Sierra Vista led by as much as 10 points in the third and never looked back.

“We were very sluggish early because theywere doing some things we haven’t seen before,” McComas said. “Once we settled down, we gained confidence in what we were doing. They used a lot of finesse that gave us problems, but eventually we played our game.”

Levi had 15 kills and nine digs for Sierra Vista, and Demirjian added 12 kills, 12 digs and six aces. Faith Gray-Williams added 33 assists for the Mountain Lions.

Janella Fiso had 40 assists, 11 digs and three aces for the Bulldogs, which saw their 12-match winning streak end. Bernice Fiso added 22 kills, 11 digs and two aces, and Kaydee Bingham turned in 12 kills, eight digs and two assists. Emma Barnum finished with 11 digs and five kills for Virgin Valley (25-8).

Faith Lutheran 3, Boulder City 0 — Bobbi Tharaldson had nine kills and seven digs as the Crusaders beat the Eagles 25-12, 25-20, 25-18 in the other semifinal.

Sydney Washington and Liz Tuls each had eight kills for the Crusaders, and teammate Megan Kronschnabel had 35 assists.

Tara Cox had 34 assists for Boulder City (21-10),. Maggie Roe had 14 kills and three blocks, Jayden Wood had 13 kills and Bayden Huxford 13 digs for the Eagles.

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