Deer Valley serves notice in 1st round win - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Deer Valley serves notice in 1st round win

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2007 10:24 pm | Updated: 7:13 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Deer Valley High School girls volleyball team have something in common ? no one talked about them until they made the playoffs. For the Diamondbacks, that's when they served notice too, and Deer Valley hopes to follow the baseball team's lead. "Nobody is talking about Deer Valley," said Skyhawk Head Coach Jackie Wallace. "Instead they're talking about Centennial or Boulder Creek. We've been in the two position until recently and then we dropped to three after a late season loss. But we've always been intent on getting (into the playoffs), and playing deep." People might talk about Deer Valley (15-8 overall, 9-1 in the Northwest League) now, after it ousted Westview 25-12, 25-14, 26-24 at home Tuesday night in the first round of the 5A Division II state tournament. Wallace inherited a Skyhawk girls volleyball program two years ago with young talent, but was bounced from the first round of the playoffs last season. With that in their minds, the girls have their sights set on a much longer run into the postseason. "Our main goal this year was to get into the playoffs and go real deep," said junior outside hitter Izzy Gaulia. "So, yeah, this is a great start." And like the Diamondbacks, Deer Valley has seen its young nucleus gel and gain experience on the court. "We've gotten better with experience," Izzy Gaulia "We have good players on this team who hustle and play hard. We're all close and things have just clicked on the court." The Knights (10-12 overall, 3-7 in the Desert West League) didn't make it easy on Deer Valley, though. They played the Skyhawks close early in the first game, trading points and tying the game at 6 after Sarrah Davis' serve went into the net. The Skyhawks returned senior Stephanie Owen's serve and Westview's dig attempt went out of bounds. Deer Valley's Kayla Kane drilled a serve at the back line that Amanda Cocciardi couldn't handle and the Skyhawks used the momentum from that ace to reel off seven of the next eight points and take command. It was all Deer Valley in the second game as it used a pair of blocks by both senior Kaci Kinnett and junior Makayla Higgins to lead 5-2. After Izzy Gaulia went long with her serve, the Skyhawks went on a 8-1 run to make the game 13-4 before Westview broke serve on junior Jessica Sornsin's kill. From there, the Knights mounted a small charge, climbing to within four at 17-13, until Sarrah Davis broke sophomore Aly Owen's serve with a kill that landed between a pair of Knight defenders. Deer Valley closed the game by winning eight of nine points, including an ace by senior Alison Hasselbring. "Wow! Our passing was great. We had some amazing hits throughout the match, especially the first two games and the team worked real hard out there. I think those first two games were the best we've played all season. "Defense wins championship, so that part of the game has to be there night in and night out," Wallace said. "And we got it tonight." Westview played with more urgency in the third game, and forced the Skyhawks to play catch up nearly the entire game. The Knights took what Deer Valley gave them, using a pair of long spikes by Izzy Gaulia and Kaci Kinnett, a wide set by Alyssa Rodriguez and a tip by Westview senior Kiso Barnett to jump out to a 4-0 lead. The Skyhawks rallied to tie it at 4, but the Knights kept the pressure on, building a 5-point lead on Aly Owen's touch block to make it 12-7, the Westview's largest of the match. After a Deer Valley timeout, the Skyhawks rebounded on Kaitlynn Ausmus' kill to the left sideline. That spike spurred a 10-2 run, giving Deer Valley a 17-14 lead that it would not relinquish. However, the Knights wouldn't go quietly. They tied the game at 17 on a wide Deer Valley kill, at 21 on a long hit, and at 24 on a ball into the net. The Skyhawks held onto the game, and match, by claiming the next two points, the final coming on a Kaitlynn Ausmus kill. "(Tonight's win) was a total team effort," Wallace said. "There was not one individual who stood out because they all came out and played well. That's a credit to this team, we don't look to just one individual." A similar refrain we heard often during the Diamondback's 2007 run: "Anybody, anytime."

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]