Mountain View VB

Mountain View's volleyball program is preparing for a busy stretch as it takes on rival Mesa before taking part in the Nike Tournament of Champions.

It’s volleyball rivalry week in the East Valley as the red-hot Mountain View High School volleyball team is slated to host Mesa High School on Thursday.

The Toros (14-6 overall) are currently on a 17-set winning streak and showed no signs of slowing down in their most recent victory over Dobson High School (2-13) on Wednesday. Mountain View also leads the 6A East Valley conference at 4-0.

“It’s our team dynamic,” said senior middle blocker Harley Noble. “We’ve spent so much time together at the four-hour practices that we’ve had. We have good conflicts with each other. We brush off mistakes which doesn’t allow for tension, and we just have a great team connection.”

The visiting Mesa Jackrabbits (5-10 overall) are off to a slower start to the season with a 1-2 record in the 6A East Valley conference, putting them at 5th. Mesa fell to Red Mountain on Wednesday in a five-set heartbreaker. However, Mountain View players know that they cannot take any match for granted.

“We have to make sure we keep the ball on our side of the court,” said senior libero Kennedy Christiansen. “As long as we execute on our side of the net, we will be in good shape for Mesa.”

Thursday’s match will add to a long week of volleyball for Mountain View, as the Toros will have played three days in a row with matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s challenging,” said head coach Clark Fleming. “There’s definitely wear and tear. Especially considering that we will head into a two-day tournament this weekend. It’s difficult, it’s a lot of volleyball, and it’s definitely a challenge for us to be mentally resilient.”

The team will also participate in the 13th annual 2021 Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, which begins on Friday. The Toros will get a look at some of the top high school squads in the country, as teams from all over the nation are competing in the event. Fleming feels that it’s important to stay humble going into a top-tier tournament like this one.

“We always try to stay away from defining ourselves as ‘the good team’,” said Fleming. “Generally, you then find yourself in a position against a team who is superior, and if you focus on only telling yourself that you are good, you are generally going to be in a really sticky situation.”

However, Fleming is still very impressed with what his team has accomplished so far this season, as it’s been nearly three weeks since the Toros have booked a loss.

“We’re playing good volleyball. The volleyball we’re playing is good enough to beat each team we’re playing against, which is awesome,” Fleming said after Mountain View’s victory over Dobson.

Before the Toros can worry about the competition at the big Nike tournament, they will need to deal with their rivals at home at 6 p.m. on Thursday, as they will look to keep running hot.

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