A trio of Chandler teams fought its way through pool and championship play to reach the finals of the 31st annual Volleyball Festival at the Phoenix Convention Center last weekend.
Shenu Volleyball Club’s 18 Black squad reached the finals of the 17-18 girls bracket, while Spiral Volleyball’s 13 Under Armour and Aspire Volleyball Club’s 13 ROX teams met in the finals of the 13 girls bracket.
Shenu 18 Black squad faced a familiar foe in its championship match; California-based Rancho Valley Volleyball Club’s 18 Select unit bested Shenu earlier in the championship bracket. It was the only match Shenu 18 Black lost on its trip to the finals of the double-elimination tournament.
In the finals, Shenu 18 Black won the first two sets 25-17 and 25-18. But, since Rancho Valley had not lost prior to that, it forced a final single game to 25 for the 17-18 girls championship. Shenu 18 Black fell in the sudden-death game to Rancho Valley, 25-23.
“That was the most fire I’d seen them play with in the whole tournament,” Shenu 18 Black coach Tia Kannapel said of her team’s performance. “I’m so proud of what they accomplished.”
Rivals Spiral 13 Under Armour and Aspire 13 ROX met in the finals of the 13 girls bracket. Like Shenu 18 Black’s championship match, Aspire 13 ROX had not lost a match coming into the championship, but Spiral 13 Under Armour won the first two sets, 25-19, 25-11, to force a sudden-death set.
Spiral 13 Under Armour won the finals set 25-16 to take home the 13 girls title.
“Aspire has been traditionally a rival of ours,” Spiral 13 Under Armour coach Deborah Taylor said. “To come back with a win like this as attacking and as fierce as we did, I couldn’t have asked for more from my kids.”
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