Desert Mountain girls volleyball team trumps Chaparral

Chaparral High School’s girls volleyball team was defeated by Desert Mountain during its Sept. 6 match.

Chaparral High School’s girls’ volleyball team couldn’t complete any of their comeback attempts in their first non-conference match of the season, falling to Desert Mountain High School in four close sets 22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 20-25.

In the fourth set, Chaparral’s (1-2) fatigue began to show. Early in the set, Desert Mountain went on a 6-0 run to take a 10-5 lead and later found itself up 17-9. The team found itself on the right side of all the rallies in the set.

After a few emotionally-charged points, Desert Mountain (1-2) sealed the deal on a kill from senior outside hitter, Finn Wilkins, winning the fourth set 25-20.

Chaparral’s head coach, Amanda Burbridge, said that Desert Mountain simply came in more ready to play.

“They did a great job with their dig transitions and they just put the ball in our faces from there,” Coach Burbridge said. “We just weren’t ready to face a team like this.”

The teams were neck-and-neck for the first 25 points, with the largest lead being Chaparral’s 5-3 advantage. The Firebirds took the lead at 18-17, forcing Desert Mountain’s head coach, Tammy Butler, to call a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Desert Mountain scored four of the next five points to widen the gap to 23-19. The wolves kept the pressure on as they finished the first set behind the arm of junior outside hitter, Aly Leiphart, who would record the last two kills of the set as Desert Mountain won 25-22.

The second set has been problematic for Chaparral throughout the season, as they lost by double digits in the second set in each of their first two matches of the year. In this match, they were able to quickly build an 8-2 lead, but Desert Mountain bounced back and took the lead 10-9.

Despite Chaparral again falling behind by six points, the Firebirds battled back with sophomore outside hitter, Amber Stivrins, who recorded two emotional points back-to-back to tie the set at 20. However, Chaparrals’ comeback fell short as the Wolves took the second set 25-20, finishing on a 5-0 run.

Coach Butler told her players not to give up in the “brutal” second set.

“I told them this is what we play for, for fun and exciting sets like this,” Coach Butler said. “You can’t shy away from moments like that, which some of my players have done. You have to treat every point like game point.”

In the third set, the Firebirds capitalized on eight Desert Mountain errors compared to just four of their own. Chaparral came out with a lot of energy, as they jumped on the Wolves early, opening on a 13-1 run and scoring 10 straight points in the process. While Stanford tried to chip away, the Firebirds maintained their large lead, taking set three, 25-20.

Chaparral’s Stivrins was the only Firebird with double-digit kills, scoring 18.

Desert Mountain, however, had three players with double digit kills. Leiphart with 12, junior Lily; Leistiko with 15 and Wilkens with 26. Wilkens also tallied 11 blocks, a performance which Coach Burbridge said she was “in awe of.”

This loss serves as more than just a non-conference defeat for many of the Firebirds.

Stivrins said that they consider Desert Mountain as a rival.

“Honestly this sucks; everyone on our side considers them a rival, even though we don’t play them every year and even though they’re not in our conference,” Stivrins said. “It was so close we all felt like we could have at least gotten it to five, but it didn’t happen.”

Editor’s Note: Mr. Zwiebach is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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