The Mesa Jackrabbits defeated the Skyline Coyotes 3-2 in a thrilling match that went down to the wire, clinching second place in the section and home court to start the playoffs.
The match went back and forth until finally in the fifth set, a kill by Mesa sealed the win for the Jackrabbits, 15-9.
It was senior night for the Jackrabbits as the seniors led the way, including co-captain Roma McEvoy, who had a monster serving rally in the third set.
“We’ve been practicing serving in a spot that they serve at us,” she said, later adding that they had been practicing for Skyline specifically.
As well, freshman Jazlyn Jackson stepped up big Tuesday, starting the match off with a kill. Jackson spoke on what co-captain Kate Hatch tells her during a match.
“Kate tells me to always swing big and that just gives me so much confidence,” said Jackson.
When asked about Jackson’s performance, McEvoy noted that she is one of her closest friends and that she is proud of the growth that Jackson has shown throughout the season.
After the first point the Jackrabbits had a tough start to the match, producing countless errors that eventually lead to Skyline winning the set, 19-25.
The second set was more even as the Jackrabbits and Cougars dueled it out until Mesa won, 30-28, in one of the more thrilling sets of the season.
Riding high on momentum, Mesa came out and dismantled Skyline, 25-12, as the team played one of its most impressive sets of the year.
Skyline did not back down though. They came back to win the fourth set, 25-27, after being dominated in the third, in large part to the efforts of sisters Jasmyn and Demya Tate.
Asked how Mesa game planned for the Tates, Jackrabbits coach, Amy Strawn, said, “We were able to serve tough enough that the setter couldn’t give them great balls.” She added that her players tried to make the sisters look like “normal volleyball players.”
It was also senior night for Mesa, as multiple players played their last games for the program Tuesday night.
“They’re everything to me,” McEvoy said, referring to her team.
Additionally, Strawn will miss how much she connected with her seniors. “They get me,” she said, laughing.
Mesa heads into the playoffs with the mindset of going as far as it can, hoping to not get bounced out in the first round.
“We’re gonna play a higher seed, obviously, so it’s gonna be tough so I think if we play like we played tonight we can get through it,” McEvoy said.
Mesa starts its playoff journey this Thursday against a team that is likely a higher seed. But with home-court advantage and constant improvement each day, they hope to stay true to their motto and carry on deep into the postseason.
Amiliano Fragoso is a sports journalism student at Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism covering Mesa High School athletics.