The Chaparral High School Firebirds girls volleyball team traveled to Paradise Valley High School where they swept the Trojans in dominating fashion Oct. 5.
In the first set, Chaparral took control early and did not take its foot off the gas pedal. The Firebirds went up 13–4 largely in part to sophomore outside hitter Amber Stivrins, who had three kills, eventually leading to a 25–13 win in the first set.
In the second set, Chaparral again led the entire way. In this set, it was its defense that gave them the upper hand. Blocking and their junior libero/defensive specialist Addison Dover carried the Firebirds to the victory.
Chaparral, however, did get caught out of transition three times in the second set. Paradise Valley took advantage dumping the ball three times into the center of the court going untouched.
“(We) want to play consistently like that,” said Paradise Valley Head Coach Leah Kauffman.
However, Chaparral was able to win the second set 25–15.
At this point, Coach Kauffman didn’t want her team to give up, despite being down two sets to none.
“We’re not worried about the other side,” said Coach Kauffman. “We’re worried about our side, we’re trying to get one point at a time and start accumulating some momentum.”
Chaparral Assistant Coach Michael Antonucci had the opposite problem. He said his team seemed to be on cruise control after winning the first set.
“They have to stay focused through the entire game,” Coach Antonucci said. “Just because you have won set one doesn’t mean you are going to win the next set so you have to keep the same intensity from start to finish.”
In the third set, it was a bit more back and forth as Paradise Valley took the lead early 4–3. However, Chaparral quickly regained control.
Paradise Valley took a timeout when they went down 13–8, but that seemed to be of no avail.
Stivrins continued swinging, racking up three straight kills to extend her team’s lead to 16–10.
The Trojans refused to throw in the towel, as they narrowed Chaparrals lead to two points.
The Trojans late-game push seemed to be just a little too late. Chaparral went on a quick four-point run to win the third and final set, 25-17, completing their sweep of Paradise Valley.
“In a game like this, it’s not mental toughness, but its mental stability,” Kauffman said. “It’s being able to handle balls it’s one of the best assets to learn as a competitor.”
Chaparral’s superstar Stivrins stole the show.
“She’s one of our younger players but she’s continuing to step up,” said Coach Antonucci. “She’s showing more and more leadership abilities.”
Stivrins racked up over 10 kills and never missed a serve.
After the game, Stivrins said she was satisfied with her performance, especially at the service line.
“The sky is the limit for her,” Antonucci said. “What ever she wants to do in volleyball she has the potential to do.”
Editor’s Note: Ms. O’Carroll is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.