As the top seed in the Division I volleyball state tournament, Horizon has had a target on its back from the beginning.
In Saturday's semifinals, the Huskies faced No. 4 Glendale Mountain Ridge in a rematch of a semifinal pairing from last season, won by Horizon.
The Mountain Lions came out hungry for revenge and looked on their way to the championship match. That’s when Horizon found its groove in a 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 28-26, 15-10 victory.
A year after falling to Gilbert in the title match, the Huskies will face Xavier on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Mesquite for the championship.
Horizon (42-3) lost the first two games but was competitive in both and had enough resolve to stay alive and win a marathon game four.
“They run a really quick offense, so we had worked really hard in practice (Friday) and actually the past couple of weeks when we saw that we might play them in the tournament, to figure out a way to defend that.” Horizon coach Val McKenzie said.
In game four the Huskies led throughout and by as many as eight before Mountain Ridge came back to tie it at 23-23.
Horizon had game point four times before finally getting the required two-point lead to win the game.
Sierra Nobley led the Huskies with 19 kills and 14 digs while Jensen Cunningham contributed 11 kills and four blocks.
“They were better than us today," Mountain Ridge coach Jennifer McGauley said. "We fought really hard in the first two games. And then in the third, fourth and fifth game they took control and we just played catch up the whole time. We got caught up in the moment because we were up two games. That is a good seat to be in but a rocky seat. So we let up a little bit on our speed.
"But Horizon played a good match. Give them credit.”