In an effort to ensure her team wasn’t losing their edge, Monument Valley head volleyball coach Rennell Gilmore wanted to make sure they were where they needed to be mentally.
On Saturday night, they showed they were as the Lady Mustangs swept the Tuba City Lady Warriors in the championship game of the 3A North Regional Volleyball Tournament. After a long hiatus the regional tournament was implemented to help determine the final seeding for the upcoming state tournament.
Saturday’s set scores were 25-21, 25-19, 25-18, as MV avenged its only loss in league play.
“We actually played them in the last game of the regular season and they swept us,” Monument Valley coach Rennell Gilmore said of Tuba City. “We came back with a plan and we executed well and we got the end result we wanted.”
As the tournament’s two top seed, both teams advanced into the championship game with MV sweeping Page while Tuba City outlasted Ganado in a five-game thriller.
Tuba City coach Harlan Barlow said fatigue may have played a factor in losing to MV in straight sets.
“They were tired but they should be ready to play on any given day and any given time,” he said. “Monument Valley wanted it more and they came out ready to play.
By making the championship game both teams were assured a spot in the Class 3A state volleyball tournament.
MV earned the No. 6 seed and they will play No. 11 Sabino at 9 a.m. while No. 7 seed Tuba City is scheduled to play Tanque Verde at 3 p.m. on Friday. Ganado also made the field as at-large team as they were awarded the No. 15 seed. The Lady Hornets will play No. 2 Valley Christian at 3 p.m. also on Friday.
The first and second round games will be played on Friday at Camelback High School. The semifinal is slated for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Camelback High with the championship game being played at North High School at 7 p.m.
In Saturday’s 3A North Regional tournament, the most significant aspect of the game for the Mustangs was the balanced way in which they beat Tuba City. The defense did its part by making some nice crisp passes and MV sophomore setter Cree John did a good a good job of moving the ball.
In fact, the Mustangs exploited their ability to put the ball away with junior middle hitters Ki-Anna McCabe and Lakeshia Begay slamming the Warriors into submission with a combined 19 kills.
“Every time we got a good pass, we’re giving it to the middle,” Gilmore said. “They do a very good job and they’re juniors. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do as seniors.”
McCabe, who finished with 10 kills, said they were more mentally prepared for this game, unlike the last time they played Tuba City.
“We were more dominant in this game,” McCabe said. “We were real aggressive at the net and we are being told to do that every day.”