Perry girls beach volleyball team captures first state title SanTan Sun News

Perry girls beach volleyball team captures first state title

May 16th, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Perry girls beach volleyball team captures first state title
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By ERIC NEWMAN, Staff

The Perry High School beach volleyball team stopped Millennium High School just short of perfection earlier this month, winning 4-1 in the A.I.A. Division 1 State Volleyball Championship Final.

The loss was the first, and only, defeat the Tigers suffered all season, having gone an undefeated 15-0 in the regular season and playoffs and dropping just seven of a possible 75 individual matches up to that point.

Though the state final constituted the first match between the two teams all season, Millennium and Perry have a long, strenuous volleyball history. Most recently, Perry defeated Millennium 3-2 in the 2017 A.I.A. Indoor Volleyball 6A Quarterfinals at the end of the fall season.

“I know one or two of the girls, and some of the others know each other, and we’ve all played a lot, so there’s that competitiveness between all of us,” Millennium junior Bailey Schlosser said.

Schlosser and freshman Natalie Lopez served up a great start for the Tigers, securing the first team point of the match for a 1-0 overall lead with a tight three-set match.

After rolling to a 21-16 win in the first set, the pair dropped the second 16-21 but stormed to a 11-1 lead in the tie-breaking third set, finishing off the set and match with a 15-3 victory over a seemingly discombobulated Puma team.

“I think they sort of gave up, but we still didn’t stop attacking when we were ahead by a lot. We wanted to close our match out,” Schlosser said.

However, the Tigers’ first team point would prove to be their last, as Perry won each of the final four matches in straight sets.

In the first of Millennium’s four losses, sophomore Hannah Waters and junior Kaitlin Bruchhauser fended off four straight set points, down 20-15, though they eventually lost 21-19 on a quality kill by Perry junior Brooklyn Poling.

The second set was just as close, with Poling and senior Halle Razo coming away with a 23-21 victory for a 1-1 overall tie.

Perry junior Matea Suan and senior Ellie McDonald jumped on Millennium junior Nicole Hoff and senior Annika Payne early in a significantly less competitive third match. The Pumas controlled the points throughout and were able to hit over and around tough blocks to storm to a 21-14, 21-12 victory to take a 2-1 overall lead.

With Perry needing just one more match win to clinch the overall title, Millennium’s hopes rested on juniors Alyssa Avitia and Ashley Antoniak, who took on Perry seniors Portia Valadez and Taylor Pennington.

From the first point of the match, a 20-hit rally, it seemed victory would not come easy for either team. However, the Perry pair came out swinging, and rolled to a 21-14 win in the first set.

The second set was much tighter, with both pairs blasting quality kills and coming up with tremendous digs. Both Perry and Millennium changed leads all set, though neither was able to get up more than a point or two.

Down 18-20, with two possible championship-clinching points for Perry, Millennium’s Antoniak dropped a soft spike right into the dirt, tricking Perry for a 19-20 deficit. Antoniak came up clutch in the next point as well, with a block that just glanced the sideline for a 20-20 tie.

The Pumas did not get down on themselves, though, remaining as focused as ever to finish off the match.

“I just think we had to keep pushing, and a lot of times it’s just point-by-point, and we’re just trying to push, and we got it done,” Valadez said.

The Perry pair won the next point easily to lead 21-20. Finally, an errant Millennium spike into the net secured a 22-20 victory – and a state championship – for the Pumas, who piled on top of one-another in jubilation, celebrating the team’s first-ever title.

“I’m ecstatic, and it doesn’t really feel real to be honest,” Perry senior Razo said. “I knew we had a chance, but it didn’t really feel real until we beat some of the teams and actually came out here and it came true.”

Perry’s Ryann Davis and Noelle Weintraub’s dominating, yet inconsequential, 21-14, 21-12 victory for the Pumas’ fourth overall point added just a bit of icing on the cake.

For the several Perry seniors who have played together for years both in indoor and beach volleyball, the state championship serves as a neat bookend for a slew of successful seasons.

“Perry doesn’t have any state championships, so it’s really exciting that now beach volleyball has won a championship,” Valdez said. “It’s awesome, and I can tell my college coach that I’m coming there with a state championship under my belt.”

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