In its final game of the season, the Yavapai College volleyball team celebrated the careers of its sophomores on Friday night inside of Walraven Gymnasium by defeating the Pima Community College Aztecs in four sets.
In between the second and third sets of Friday night’s match, middle blocker Keyaira Gravitt, outside hitter Kate Allan, libero Naomi Glasker and right hitter RiKenna Curtis were honored during the sophomore celebration, before playing their final sets as Roughriders.
“I just want to say thank you to the sophomores and all of the girls who decided to stay with us and fight through this,” Head Coach Chelsey Lucas said. “It allowed us to build a foundation and will allow us to build a winning program. It was a season full of adversity that only made us stronger and no matter what the record says, it does not define who we are. I am so excited to keep building this program.”
The Roughriders raced out to a 9-2 lead in set one thanks to a couple of kills and a block from the aforementioned Gravitt, forcing Pima to take a timeout. After the break, it was more of the same for YC as Allan registered three-consecutive kills at one point and later aced one over the net for a 24-12 lead.
Freshman outside hitter Abby Whatton then finished things off with a kill and the Roughriders went up 1-0 in the match with a 25-12 set-one victory.
Down 4-2 in set two, YC’s sophomores continued to make plays as Glasker tallied back-to-back diving digs that saved the plays and eventually led to YC points. The great defensive effort tied the set at 4-4 and from then on, the Roughriders would not trail as late in the set a kill from Curtis pushed the lead to 23-15.
A couple of errors from the Aztecs pushed the set to its final of 25-16 and the Roughriders took a 2-0 match lead into their sophomore celebration.
After dominating the first two sets, Pima flipped the script on YC in set three and although the Roughriders attempted a late comeback, the Aztecs cruised to a 25-19 victory to force a fourth set.
An early block from freshman middle blocker Ella Simon and an ace from freshman setter Anna Bolich gave the Roughriders a commanding 7-2 lead in set four. From then on, a barrage of kills from Allan, Gravitt and Whatton were enough to down the Aztecs with a 25-12 final in set four, clinching the 3-1 match victory.
– D.J. Irwin