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SUNRISE VOLLEYBALL: Cougars come out strong, sweep Foothill

Coronado’s girls volleyball team wasn’t pleased with its energy level in its Sunrise Region semifinal sweep of Green Valley on Thursday.

The Cougars made sure they didn’t have the same issue Friday.

Coronado dominated from the opening point en route to a 25-9, 25-11, 25-11 win over Foothill in the Sunrise Region title match at Arbor View.

The Cougars (29-10), who needed just 53 minutes to beat the Falcons, will shoot for their third straight state title next weekend.

“We knew we had to raise our energy,” said Coronado senior Emily Bender, who finished with a team-high 11 kills. “We wanted to start fast, and everything fell our way early. Anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs and we wanted to take care of business.”

Bender opened the match with a kill as Coronado grabbed a 7-1 lead in the first set and never looked back.

“The girls came out with much more energy tonight,” Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. “Certainly, winning never gets old and when it does, it’s time to do something else. We played a much better match tonight, and getting off to a great start was very important.”

It also helped getting seven aces.

“We played really well,” Bender said. “It was a fun match for us, and now we’re headed to the state tournament. To go back to state is such an awesome feeling.”

Cali Thompson had 43 assists and two aces for Coronado, and teammate Carolyn Andrulis added 11 kills and nine digs. Nikki Jackson had nine digs, seven kills and three blocks, and Navi Lee finished with 10 kills and five aces for the Cougars.

Foothill (15-24) was led by Kiley McCall with 15 assists and five digs, and Whitley Brow, Alyssa McCoy and Courtney Nilson each had five kills. The Falcons will face Bishop Gorman (26-14) in a play-in match at 6 p.m. Monday at Chaparral for the final state tournament berth.

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