The Silverado girls volleyball team arrived for its Class 4A Sunrise Region semifinal match wearing brand-new T-shirts designed by junior Madison Harper.
On the front was the phrase “We’re back” while the other side featured a target with the Skyhawks logo smack dab in the center.
“It represents that we want to come back and take state back-to-back, which is hard to do,” Silverado setter Marilyn Agae said. “And we came with a big target on our back. We are aware of it. It helps us push even more and make ourselves better.”
The Skyhawks took another step toward their goal of a second straight state title on Thursday, coasting to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-18 win over Del Sol at Centennial. Silverado (28-5) will take on Green Valley at 5 tonight at for the region championship at Centennial. The rivals split their two Southeast League matches.
Taylor Richard led Silverado with 12 kills and 11 digs, and Kaitlin Keathley chipped in with eight kills, five aces and two blocks. Agae finished with 20 assists.
“I think we certainly can step up our game,” Skyhawks coach Jennifer Boeddeker said. “I’m always pushing them to play better. I’m never satisfied.”
The Skyhawks were never threatened against Del Sol (16-11) as they turned an 11-7 lead in the first game into a 22-11 advantage after a kill from Richard. The Dragons made it interesting in the second game, using a 5-1 spurt to close to within 17-13, which forced Boeddeker to use a timeout. Silverado then reeled off eight of the next nine points to close out the game.
“At times we played pretty tough,” Del Sol coach Albert Ronquillo said. “When we got touches on balls, we put a little pressure on them and got some pretty good rallies going.”
The Dragons, who were paced by Bryanna Chavez’s five kills and Karie Miller’s four kills, led 12-11 in the third game before Silverado was able to pull away. Patti Flagg’s kill put the Skyhawks on top 19-16 and her ace made it 23-17 before Richard’s cross-court spike ended the match.
“I think it was important for us to concentrate on what we’re doing on our side of the court,” Boeddeker said. “We’re excited to be back in the finals. I feel like the girls have worked hard this year and the payoff in the end is the regional championship or the state championship.”
Green Valley 3, Coronado 0 — Siga Appelgate had 15 kills and six digs as the Gators (27-10) knocked off the Cougars 25-21, 25-22, 25-13 to advance to the Sunrise final.
Jena Chavez added 28 assists and Sydney Brozovich finished with eight kills and four blocks for the top seed from the Southeast League.
“We played good enough to get the win,” Green Valley coach Erin Hill said. “Credit to Coronado. They dug everything we had to send over.”
The Gators led 19-17 in the opening game before a problem with the official scorebook led to a nearly 10-minute delay. Once play resumed, Coronado was able to tie the game at 20-20 before Green Valley scored five of the last six points.
“That big pause kind of slowed things down,” Cougars coach Brock Mitchell said. “In the second game, we dug a huge hole we couldn’t get ourselves out of.”
The Gators opened up leads of 10-3 and 20-12 in the second game before turning away a late Coronado rally. In the third game, Brozovich had a block to make it 15-8 and took over late. She put down a kill on a slide play and had back-to-back blocks before Emma Johnson’s ace finished off the match.
“We had a lot of unforced errors,” Hill said. “We didn’t have a lot of fire. We have to find that enthusiasm and bring it (tonight).”