September 16, 2004
The 5A conference is compiling girls volleyball power ratings on a trial basis this season.
With three weeks of the season completed, and most teams having participated in at least one tournament so far, the top 15 teams through Tuesday’s play have been determined.
Seven of the 15 are local schools, with Desert Mountain topping the list at No. 4.
Here are the ratings: 1. Tucson Salpointe; 2. Phoenix Xavier; 3. Glendale Ironwood; 4. Desert Mountain; 5. Glendale Mountain Ridge; 6. Gilbert; 7. Desert Vista; 8. Corona del Sol; 9. Horizon; 10. Kingman; 11. Westwood; 12. Chandler; 13. Tucson Canyon del Oro; 14. Phoenix St. Mary’s; 15. Avondale Westview.
Back to form: After losing its opening match of the season to Prescott, Cactus Shadows has regained its form from last year, when the Falcons won the 4A state championship.
Coach Karen Sitkiewitz had four players from that championship team return and has been able to use that inherited confidence for the quick start, including going undefeated at last weekend’s Paradise Valley Invitational.
"I was pretty happy overall with the level of play and our team chemistry is developing," Sitkiewitz said.
Junior Rachel Oligmueller was named the tournament’s MVP. Last season, the 5-foot-9 outside hitter had 330 kills and 306 digs.
Basha growing up: Despite not having a senior on the roster, Basha won its first two varsity matches by defeating 5A Hamilton and Willow Creek.
"Hamilton was a big game for us, even though they weren’t what I expected them to be," coach Preslie Agostine said. "I know our administration was happy."
The Bears were brought back to earth though, losing in straight games to Chaparral, a loss that should help Basha in the long run. The loss was only the third in three seasons for the group, which has been playing together since its freshman year.
"It brought them to a new level to what they need to work on," Agostine said. "We’re just hoping to improve every game and it’s a learning year."
Basha, led by juniors Katie Ponseness and Pashay Sorensen, should finish somewhere in the middle of the pack in the East Sky Region before moving on to the 5A level next year.
Higley places high: When Jennifer Burks looked at the standings for the 2003 Chandler Invitational, she could only think, "Why not us? "
The Higley girls cross country coach felt her squad had a pretty good chance of finishing in the top 10 of this year’s Chandler event. Not only did the Knights finish in the top 10, they took a trophy home with a second-place finish behind 3A rival Seton Catholic.
The Chandler Invitational’s scoring system rewards program depth, and though they didn’t have any runners in the top five of any of the grade-level races, the top Knight runner finished no worse than 10th in any race.
Sophomore Brandie Baier was sixth, junior Ashley Jensen was seventh, senior Jessica Medina took eighth and freshman Samantha Roberts was 10th to score for Higley.
The Knights will be at the Fountain Hills Invitational on Saturday. Higley took second at last year’s Fountain Hills event.
Highland on a roll: It wasn’t enough to topple Desert Vista in the uniquely scored Chandler Invitational, but Highland’s effort in the senior boys race should bode well for the Hawks.
Highland finished third Saturday, but led by winner Craig Breinholt, the Hawks took four of the top 12 spots in the senior race. Mike Smith, Ryan Hummel and Matt Tofft all came in within 1:20 of Breinholt’s time. "I think we look strong," Breinholt said.
Honored: The Arizona Cardinals have named Mountain View coach Tom Joseph as the high school coach of the week. Red Mountain High running back/defensive back Channing Trotter was named this week’s player of the week. Joseph and his Toros held off the Gilbert Tigers for a 17-0 victory Friday. Trotter had 25 carries for 220 yards and one touchdown in a 17-13 victory over Mountain Pointe. Trotter also made an interception.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
Versatile Firebird: Chaparral’s Lauren Cox is already having a big senior season. In the first meet of the year, she lowered her 200 freestyle time by two seconds, falling just under the All-American standard. She placed third in the event at the state meet a year ago, but her time now would be good enough for second, and the defending champ has moved out of state. Cox is planning to make recruiting visits to Ohio State, Tennessee and Miami (Ohio) this fall. Cox’s sister Sarah, a freshman, is already competitive in the 100 backstroke and the 200 intermediate medley.
GOLF Thunder roll: The Desert Vista girls continued to roll last week, as they defeated Gilbert, Phoenix St. Mary’s, Peoria Sunrise Mountain and Hamilton. Junior Brittany Stewart played a key role, shooting a 2-under-par 33 at the difficult Arizona Legends Golf Course. Stewart’s consistent play helped to improve Desert Vista’s record to 3-0.
- Correspondents Al Bravo, Jeff Hoodzow, Mark Ryan and Damien Tippett contributed to this report.