Gearing Up For a Long Ride, DI Girls Volleyball Heading Toward a Great Postseason

Sharon Vanis rarely sat down, if at all, during Hamilton’s volleyball match at Desert Vista.

She was pacing back and forth, tweaking, using body language and coaching the Huskies in an intense match between two undefeated teams.

And the postseason is still more than a week away.

“It was good, intense match,” the Hamilton coach said. “These are the kind of matches that you look forward to.”

If she keeps up her sideline antics, and the Huskies go as deep into the postseason as expected, Vanis will probably be looking for a new pair of shoes after wearing them out because it looks like the Division I postseason could be just as intense as Desert Vista’s four-set win over Hamilton.

The victory gave the Thunder the top-ranking in the power points as both teams entered the match undefeated with Hamilton at No. 1 before its first loss. It was the first time in power-point matches Desert Vista had to go more than three sets.

“It was a challenging match,” Thunder coach Molly West said. “The kids worked hard. We had some challenges which was great for us. Hamilton played great defense and they were out for that win. They came in and took a set off of us, but we withstood it.”

The question will soon be who can withstand the 16-team tournament, which gets underway Nov. 4, as many as 10 teams have a shot although Desert Vista, with its barrage of college–level talent, looks to be the favorite entering its final few regular season matches.

Defending champion Xavier and Hamilton are in the upper echelon as well, but the thing is there isn’t much drop off in the second tier.

Perry, Mountain Pointe, Basha, Gilbert along with a few others can run the table if one of them gets hot and never ever count out Horizon, which has made three straight finals, even though the Huskies are hovering around .500 and the 13th seed. There is a reason Valorie McKenzie won 800th match recently – she can coach a little.

“One through 10 could win this thing, and some (top seed) is going to pull Horizon in the first round,” Vanis said. “That’s nuts, but it’s what you want the state tournament to be.”