Sat, Dec. 07

All Verde Valley volleyball match
Mingus wins 3-1, both teams look for more consistent play

Marauder <b>Amanda Randolph</b> hits an attack shot while Cowboy <b>Donnie Buss</b> jumps to block Wednesday in Camp Verde.

Marauder <b>Amanda Randolph</b> hits an attack shot while Cowboy <b>Donnie Buss</b> jumps to block Wednesday in Camp Verde.

CAMP VERDE-The Marauders volleyball team got a much needed win Wednesday in the Camp Verde gym when they beat the Cowboys three sets to one.

Both teams were in need of a win, but Mingus started the match in a zone. The Maruders won the first two sets by passing the ball with fluidity, and the play of sophomore setter Delaney Scanlan was crucial. She made it easy for the Marauder hitters by placing the ball in the right spots. Senior captain Kayla Dixon is one of the Marauder hitters who reaped the benefits and accumulated a lot of kills.

"Delaney is doing a great job putting the ball in the right place for me and keeping it off the net. It's all her, she's doing a great job," Dixon said.

The Marauders did well in a Payson tournament over a week ago, but since then they had been playing without their number one middle hitter Jessica Zaske and the team has relied a lot more on Amanda Randolph. Normally Randolph plays outside hitter and she admits switching roles was difficult.

"It's different because now instead of being the hardest hitter on the team I need to be the most consistent hitter in the middle. It's a hard change because you go from wanting to smack the ball on the outside to sometimes just trying to get it over in the middle," said Randolph. "I'm trying as hard as I can, I'm trying to help out my team, but it's hard. I can't wait till Jessica can come back and play."

The Cowboys showed character in the third set. After losing two sets, they regrouped and started playing to their potential. They got a big lead and maintained it to claim the third set. Cowboy Katie Wilson's jump serve was tough for the Marauders to hit, and it frustrated them.

"It felt amazing," said Wilson. "I love getting a shank or an ace, and I love when the other team returns it, but then we get a nice hit. It makes me feel good and it boosts my confidence. It makes me play better when I serve like that, so I'm hoping I can serve like that every game."

The two-set hole was too much for the Cowboys to overcome, and they lost the fourth set. They played well in the final two sets of the match, but it was too late.

"I'm disappointed. The girls have the skills; they just came out flat the first two games. You can't wait to be down two games and expect to come back," said Cowboys Head Coach Darcy Evans. "I'm just trying to help them understand they need to have mental toughness. They can't come out and be wimpy."

The Cowboys have shown flashes of brilliance, but they're still searching for consistent play.

"Right now I think most of it is, we're a very young team. They're struggling because they're young. Those things come from experience that we'll get to someday," said Evans.

The Marauders are looking for more consistent play as well. From their perspective, they played well in the first two sets and got complacent in the third.

"I think we're still trying to get in the swing of things and trying to gel with Delaney as our new setter. We're coming along and we're a great team. We have a lot of potential. We may be small, but we can hit hard," said senior captain Lashea Taylor.

Taylor also gave credit to the Cowboys' play.

"They were a pretty good team. They had good defense. We were hitting it hard, but they were getting it back to us," said Taylor.

Cowboy Amanda Showers had good things to say about the Marauders as well.

"They really know how to play as a team. They can set and hit. We can do that, but we just need to work on it," said Showers. "I think we didn't play to our full potential."

Katie Wilson was frustrated after the game and was direct in her analysis of herself and her team.

"We needed to have mental toughness, and we didn't. All day we were pumped up, during warm-ups we were pumped up, and then when we got on the court we fell apart. We need to work on that and we need to work on our spirit. On every play we need to scream and yell because it boosts our confidence. I don't think we played to our fullest. I'm not happy to be honest," said Wilson.

Both teams had a big game the following day. Mingus was scheduled to host Greenway and Camp Verde was scheduled to play in Sedona.

"We're trying to keep our intensity up and keep a good attitude because that's one of our big problems right now," said Amanda Showers. "I look forward to Sedona. I think we can compete with them if we play like we know we can."

The Cowboys lost to Sedona in the season opener, but they all agreed they played well. Sedona is a great team-they beat Mingus too. Evans expected her team to be mentally tough and compete against Sedona the next day.

The Marauders were excited about their game against Greenway (scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at Mingus) because of what happened last year at Greenway.

"Last year against Greenway was the best game of my life. Everybody was working their hardest and we really wanted to win. We had them and we won-it was my kill on the game point. The ref gave us the point, then took it back. That's why we're mad, because we won. We won the game when they gave us the point, and then they took it back, so we're motivated out of revenge. We really want to win, so we'll see if it happens," said Amanda Randolph.

The Cowboys' next home game is Sept. 21 against Northland Prep at 5 p.m.

The Marauders' travel south this weekend for the Greenway Invite tournament. Mingus' next home game is a double header on a Saturday against Mojave Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

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