Girls Varsity Volleyball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Nov 7, 2017
- BULLDOGS: 3
Queen Creek, AZ—A state championship appearance in girls volleyball at Queen Creek High School hasn’t been a reality until now. The Bulldogs have upset two teams in a row, including no.1-ranked Chaparral on Tuesday night at Marcos de Niza High School to advance to its first state championship appearance on Thursday.
Losing to Chaparral earlier in the season, QC knew it would have to be prepared for everything the Firebirds would throw at them, and they were. Chaparral didn’t win a single set on Tuesday, falling 25-21, 27-25 and 25-10 to the no. 5 seed Queen Creek Bulldogs.
A team known for its offensive firepower, with five DI college signing players, Queen Creek needed an all-around game to have a chance in the semifinals. The offense was there when the team needed it most, but so were the defense and serving.
“We changed our defense after we lost to them the last time,” said head coach Erica Crismon. “We were so prepared. I’m so proud of my girls. They knew our scouting report inside and out and they executed amazingly. I’m more proud of them defensively because it’s not something we’re normally good at. In this tournament, we’ve been pretty close to perfect defensively.”
QC had a slow start to both set one and set two. Trailing 10-5 in set one, middle blocker Savannah Bloom served eight-straight points to give QC its first lead of the night at 13-10. The score evened itself out and continued to go back and forth until Queen Creek put some distance between themselves and Chaparral with a kill from Bloom and an ace from senior outside hitter Claudia Wilson. At 24-21, a tooled block from outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge sealed set one for the Bulldogs.
Chaparral came out in set two firing on all cylinders, taking yet another 10-5 lead midway through. Behind Wilson’s serve, QC scored nine straight to take a 15-12 lead. Chaparral wouldn’t go down easily and fought to the last point, eventually earning a 25-24 set point. However, timely kills from both Wilson and Hodge earned QC the second set victory, 27-25.
In set three, QC gained a quick 14-6 lead and never looked back. At 24-10, Hodge yet again had the opportunity to win her third set point of the night, this time from behind the service line.
“I was obviously scared,” said Hodge of the match-point serve. “But the energy from the crowd and from my teammates just made me pull through.”
Hodge aced the jump serve to send QC to the state title game. After a season-high 26 kills in the second round upset of Notre Dame, Hodge finished Tuesday with a team-high 22 kills in just three sets. Junior Kate Grimmer led the team in digs with 24 and also added eight kills on the night. Wilson served a total of 23 points and had two aces.
“I thought our servers did such a great job from the service line,” said Crismon. “We continually put pressure on their passers.”
The semifinal appearance was the furthest any Queen Creek girls volleyball team had gone in the state tournament, but now the Dogs have a state championship appearance to add to this year’s highlight reel.
“It is so exciting,” said Wilson on the state championship. “We’ve been working so hard all these years and putting extra hours in at the gym and it’s so awesome it finally paid off.”
Queen Creek will play the no.2- seed Sunnyslope on Thursday at Mesquite High School at 5:15 p.m in the 5A state championship. Sunnyslope has only one loss on its regular season schedule, not including tournaments, and that loss was to Queen Creek during its first match of the season. Sunnyslope also swept its opponent, Centennial, in the semifinal matchup Tuesday.