Sat, Dec. 07

Mingus Volleyball to host Flagstaff Eagles Thursday
Big crowd could help team against rivals

Kayla Dixon jumps for a kill off of a Delaney Scanlan set Saturday against Mohave. VVN/Sean Morris

Kayla Dixon jumps for a kill off of a Delaney Scanlan set Saturday against Mohave. VVN/Sean Morris

COTTONWOOD-The Mingus volleyball team is playing well going into their rivalry game against Flagstaff on Thursday.

The Marauders always play to win, but this match will be different. Flagstaff and Mingus are the best teams in the region and they don't like each other too much. Protecting home court is important for Mingus to send a message to the region.

"A win against Flagstaff sets a standard that says we're the team to beat in the region," said Mingus Head Coach Audrey Islas. "I think we're the strongest two teams in the region right now. Whoever wins between us will win the region. There are two matches, one here and one there. Hopefully we can get the one here."

Marauder Amanda Randolph is amped for the match against Flagstaff.

"Flag is going to be fun. I'm so excited. Last year we lost to them in the state tournament. It's another rivalry match we want to win. Hopefully we do, I want to so bad," said Randolph.

Coach Islas recently pulled up Freshman Angel Chavez to varsity. She was previously on the JV team. She was brought up to add depth to the setter position, but she's also a good hitter.

"I wasn't expecting to be on the Varsity team at the beginning of this year, but I'm really happy about it because I like playing against girls that are more experienced," said Chavez.

Previously Sophomore Delaney Scanlan was shouldering the setting load, and she was happy about the coaching decision to bring up Chavez.

"I've played with Angel my whole life, so I knew she was good enough to play varsity. I was thankful because in long games when we play five matches, it gets tiring, so it's good to have her around," said Scanlan.

The team is starting to gel and Scanlan's setting is an important part of the team's success.

" I think we've had more team bonding lately. We've been learning to play together, and we're winning more," said Scanlan.

The setter has to have a sixth sense, something like echolocation. If you watch a volleyball game closely you'll see the importance of the setter.

The hitter has to be athletic and accurate, and they get all the glory of the kill, but the setter has to be watching the ball and instinctively know where her hitters are on the court.

You can see how comfortable Scanlan is with Kayla Dixon and Amanda Randolph when she sets them up perfectly for the kill. The most impressive is when Scanlan gives her hitters a baby-set close to the net. Dixon and Randolph jump at them like tigers going after red meat.

The baby-set is an effective play because it allows the hitters to get on top of the ball, but it also gives the opponents little time to react and set up blockers.

"I know how Kayla and Amanda hit those, they like them low so they can get up there and hit it down," said Scanlan. "I love setting. I like to be able to make the ball go where I want it and control the outcome. It's a fun job."

Everything in the season has been leading up to the last six matches-they're all region contests.

Mingus looks to start off their post-season push right with a win against Flagstaff Thursday night at 6 p.m. in Cottonwood.

"It's going to be a dogfight. We're going to want it and we'll be at home. It will come down to every point and the team that makes the fewest errors will win," said coach Islas. "Crowd support helps a lot. If we get a lot of people here it would be great because whenever we go up there that's a big difference when their crowd is totally into it."

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