Ganado serves up win over Pinon with 24 aces

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

BURNSIDE, Ariz., Oct. 31, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Pinon Lady Eagle Megan Tsosie (24) spikes the ball over defending Lady Hornet Nneka Boling (12) and Rianna Kee (14) Tuesday evening at the Ganado Pavilion in Burnside, Ariz.

With the sectional championship on the line, Ganado outside hitter Shervonna Tsosie rolled up her sleeve and put down her 10th kill of night for a 13-8 lead.

The Ganado senior then put across two consecutive aces as the Hornets grinded out a 25-11, 19-25, 25-22, 16-26, 15-8 win on Tuesday night over Pinon at the Ganado Pavilion in Burnside, Ariz.

"I just wanted to get those serves in but I was also hoping that I would ace them," Tsosie said. "We were close to winning the game and I just wanted to end it."

As a team the Hornets finished the marathon match with a whopping 24 aces and 47 kills.

Freshman outside hitter Jaelynn Curley led the Hornets attack with 10 kills and seven aces. Junior opposite Kelly Tracy added 10 kills and five service winners while freshman middle Paige Boling helped out with seven kills and four aces.

"This was a fun game," Ganado coach Jerome Burns said. "We started out real strong and after that it went up and down. It was a like a roller coaster and I think that last game we hit a peak."

Burns said it was fitting to see this match go the distance since both teams have quality programs.

"It was a really good game on both ends," he said. "You know coach (Nellie) McCurtain has done a great job with her kids. Her group did not give us the game; we had to work for this."

As for the two-dozen service winners, Burns credited his assistant coach Shauna Silversmith for helping his club earn those freebies.

"I gave her the task of telling the servers where to place the ball," Burns said of Silversmith. "And the girls responded."

Coming into this key sectional showdown, the Hornets trailed Pinon by a half-game after losing unexpectedly to Many Farms on Oct. 17 in a match that went five games.

But with Tuesday's win, the Hornets have earned the league's top seed as both clubs finished the section standings with identical 6-1 records.

More importantly both teams will advance into next week's Arizona Division IV state volleyball championships, which will take place in Prescott, Ariz. First round action is scheduled to start on Nov. 7 at Tim's Toyota Center.

"This was a big game," Burns said. "I'm not going to say anything about the bracket but I'm keeping my fingers cross for a high seed at the state tournament."

The bracket will be released on Friday with 10 automatic bids being filled by the top two teams in each section, leaving six at-large bids to fill the 16-team bracket.

"We played inconsistent but the girls are pretty happy about going back to state," Pinon coach Nellie McCurtain said afterward. "I think we'll do better this year because we played some tough schools in Division II, III and IV.

"The girls kind of know what to expect and I think we can match up with some of the teams from the south," she added.

The longtime Pinon coach said her club did very good job at the net but at times they struggled with serve-receive.

"The girls could not make the pass when needed them, especially there at the end," she said.

In the two sets they did win, the Eagles did a much better job at tightening its defense, which made things easier on setter Shonell Ben to set up middle hitter Megan Tsosie as the senior finished the game with 26 kills and four stuffs.

The Eagles also got 11 kills each from freshman outside hitter Raquel Archie and sophomore middle April Bitsuie.

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