The Scottsdale Chaparral girl’s volleyball team came into Thursday night’s matchup against Peoria Centennial looking to turn their season around after a slow start, winning just twice in their first five matches.
They will have to wait until the next match as Centennial swept the Firebirds, 25-11, 25-22, 25-10.
Chaparral found themselves in a 0-6 hole to begin the game forcing head coach Amanda Burbridge to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout the Firebirds showed a quick flash of life, but still found themselves down big to the Coyotes. With the score 19-6, Chaparral (2-4) couldn’t establish a rhythm and dropped the first game 25-11.
It was a sign of things to come despite the play of Amber Strivrins. She racked up six kills to go along with two aces. After the game she talked about her thoughts on her performance.
“I felt like tonight was a good opportunity to show what I can do, and I left it all on the court,” Strivrins said.
Game two saw Chaparral start off fast and go up 12-7 before Centennial (5-0) called a time out. After not having a lot of communication in the first game and having trouble returning the ball, the Coyotes seemed to be becoming more settled down as the match progressed.
Even though the Firebirds were playing better, the Coyotes rose to their competition and tied the game at 15.
The game went back and forth with the Coyotes ultimately pulling away to win the second game 25-22.
With their backs against the wall, the Firebirds couldn’t rise to the challenge against the top seed in the conference 5A standings. They found themselves down 0-7 and would never come back losing the third game 25-10.
After the match, players were still positive even though they lost in back to back games.
Middle blocker Adriann Gifford, one of the four seniors on the team, spoke about what it was like being a leader.
“I feel like as the leader of a team you have so much responsibility on your shoulders and you can’t be the person who brings everybody down, you have to be the person who is the most hyper out of everybody and happiest out of everybody,” Gifford said.
“Sometimes the score is 7-25 but you still have to get everyone in the huddle and talk about what certain people did well and what certain people need to work on.”
“If you are just mean and rude then it isn’t going to go over well so you have to be disciplined but mellow at the same time,” Gifford concluded.
Gifford also said that being on a team that is struggling makes it difficult sometimes to be that positive voice but as the leader of the team, she has to find it.
One of the youngest players on the team, freshman Ava Palin, is one of three freshmen on the team but was given the job of patrolling the net and blocking returns due to her 5-foot 9-inch frame.
“I feel very special, it feels good to be up there blocking balls,” Palin said when talking about what it means to her to have such an important job even though she is the youngest player on the team.
The Firebirds will be back in action on Saturday visiting the undefeated Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks, match time is 6 pm.