#9 Arcadia eliminates #8 Gilbert in four sets
November 14, 2020 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
It was a reversal of fortune Saturday for Arcadia's girls
volleyball team opposite Gilbert in the opening round of the 5A state
After three tight sets and owning a 2-1 lead art that point, the
ninth-seeded Titans dominated the fourth to take a 3-1 win over the host
and No. 8 seed and frustrated Tigers. Scores were 23-25, 26-24, 25-23 and
Arcadia (11-5) moves on to Tuesday's quarterfinals against top-seed and
unbeaten Ironwood Ridge (15-0). Gilbert, the San Tan Region champs,
The teams played early in the regular season and Gilbert was the better
team that night posting a sweep. Arcadia coach Jackie Bunker said her team
had plenty of work to do after that match and strived to get better and
more consistent. The Titans proved their coach right.
"The first time we played them they served better than we did and that
helped their offense work the whole match," Bunker said. "Tonight we
served better than they did. We played better overall than last time.
We've worked hard hitting the corners, and we were pretty successful with
Arcadia had plenty of ammunition on the attack with five player producing
at least five kills and as many as 12. Unofficially the Titans were paced
by senior Lauren Sayre (12 kills), junior Ally Bolden (10), senior Grace
Koss (8), Sophomore Ryan Sheedy (6) and senior Vania Mendez (5). Sayre and
Sheedy are outsides and Bolden, Koss and Mendez are middles. Gilbert was
led unofficially by outside hitter Naia Stewart with 20 kills, middle
Sydney Mahon (10), outside Madison Cadden (8) and middle Macie Beaudoin
Arcadia played mostly with the lead in the second half of each set. That
made Gilbert play catch-up at in the pressure moments. Arcadia led the
first set by the largest margin at 19-14, but Gilbert worked back to tie
at 20 and won with an Arcadia service error and net violation.
The second set was a carbon copy, save the ending. Arcadia built a 22-17
lead, got caught at 24, but came up the winner with a kill and ace.
Set three was the closest start to finish. The final tie at 23 was the
ninth of the set. The Titans won with kills from Bolden and and Koss.
Gilbert couldn't recover mentally from close losses in sets two and three.
Arcadia used a 10-1 run to take command after the set opened in a a 3-3
tie. The Titans' lead reached as much as 22-8.
Arcadia was in system more throughout the evening than Gilbert and
particularly in the final set. Five players registed at least two kills
each in the fourth set for Arcadia. The final point of the match came via
red card issued to Gilbert coach Joe Hesse as his match-long frustration
with one official boiled over.
Lady Tigers expectations high after promising
Tribune Contributing Writer
After an early first-round playoff exit following a 34-11 season at the
top of their league, the Gilbert Tigers have their sight set on a state
championship in 2020.
Volleyball head coach, Joe Hesse who is entering his 24th season, has high
hopes for the team this season.
“We are always trying to do better than we did last year,” said Hesse. “We
are going to see if we could get in a game or two better than last year.”
Gilbert is sitting at 3-2 and will face at Arcadia, 3-0, on Monday,
Williams Field, 0-4, Tuesday and Higley, 1-3, on Thursday.
With only three seniors graduating from last year, the team looks to be in
a good position.
Junior outside hitter Naia Stewart, a returning third-year starter, was
named Region Player of the Year last year and is described to be “one of
the most talented players” by Hesse. She came up close to leading
statistically by getting 117 digs, 375 kills, and 85 aces.
Stewart also wants to focus on being more versatile and improve her skills
at every position.
There is also senior outside hitter Madison Cadden who has played varsity
since her sophomore year. She totaled 273 kills and 82 digs last year and
is planning to continue her career at South Mountain Community College
Cadden is rebounding from an injury over the summer by breaking the head
of her fibula and was required to get surgery back in May.
“I came back in August and I have been improving since,” Cadden said. “I
don’t think it will have a huge impact on me. My jump has gotten a little
lower but I am building that up currently,”
Both were named captains this year along with libero McKenzie Schoenhardt
who led the team with 435 digs and was tied for second in assists with
Stewart at 117.
Elli Walker is the only freshman that was added to the varsity squad.
“She is a great addition to the team,” Stewart said. “She brings a lot of
energy and it is good to have a strong right side on the block”
Although COVID-19 has presented uncertainty, Hesse doesn’t see it as an
obstacle. Stewart says that when they started practicing in the beginning,
they were rusty for some players while some did privates. Now she believes
that they are more cohesive.
The Gilbert Tigers have already opened up their season playing three games
this past week and one game in the second week. Beating Ironwood 3-1 in
the first game, winning the first two sets and the fourth set to capture
the first win of the season.
Stewart and Cadden, who put up 26 kills combined.
The Tigers lost to Millennium 1-3 but bounced back to get a win the next
day against Desert Mountain 3-0.
The Tigers started the second week strong with a home-opener win against
Campo Verde 3-0. Stewart led the team with 15 kills and Schoenhardt with
seven digs, but then ended the week with a loss against Horizon 0-3.