Sun, Dec. 08

Mingus volleyball finding a groove [UPDATE]

<b>Delaney Scanlan</b> sets the ball backwards to a middle Tuesday night against Payson. VVN/Sean Morris

<b>Delaney Scanlan</b> sets the ball backwards to a middle Tuesday night against Payson. VVN/Sean Morris

COTTONWOOD - The Mingus volleyball team defeated the Payson Longhorns, 3-0, Tuesday night in Cottonwood (25-15, 25-17, 27-25). Mingus is now 9-5 in power-point matches, winning five of their last six.

"We're finally getting into the groove. We knew we could play like this, and our outside hitters are putting up good numbers. That's the key," said Mingus head coach Brian Herman.

Marauder outside hitters accounted for 20 kills against Payson, led by senior Bailey Mabery with 9 kills. Middles tallied 12 kills for the Marauders. Usually the Mingus middles account for the most points, but outside hitters Angel Chavez, Holly Drake, and Mabery have stepped up to balance the Marauder attack.

"Our hitters have been doing great lately," said senior setter Delaney Scanlan. "They've improved their court vision and they're hitting an angle shot, which has been helping us a lot."

With hitters' improved play, Scanlan feels more confident feeding the ball to the outside. When the ball moves fluidly from a pass, to a set, to a kill, while the opposition struggles to guess where it's going, the conductor of the offense and captain of the team looks pretty good.

Scanlan received a scholarship offer from South Mountain last week. She likes the offer, but will wait until the end of the season to make a commitment. Right now she's more concerned with qualifying the team for state with an advantageous seeding.

Mingus has four more regular season games against Northwest Christian, Snowflake, Payson, and Sedona. All but Snowflake currently rank higher than Mingus; winning the upcoming games would do a lot for Mingus heading into the tournament.

"If we win against Payson and Snowflake next week, that should be enough to get us into the playoffs . . . emphasis on should, but it sure would be nice to get a win against Northwest or Sedona. They're ranked near the top of Division IV, so getting a win against them would move us up the Division III rankings," said Herman. "That's where we want to be. I'm not happy with being 15th or 16th because then you play the toughest teams right away. We want to be in the top eight so we can hopefully win a game in the state tournament before playing the top ranked teams."

Mingus hosts Northwest Thursday, the defending D-IV champs.

"We need good defense to win against Northwest Christian. They have great defense, so hopefully they're a little off this week and we can get some balls down on their side of the court," said Scanlan. "Our hitting was great when we played at their place, but our defense needed to be better. We always play better at home, so that could help us in the match."

The game starts at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: Down two games to none against Northwest Christian Thursday, Mingus volleyball came back to win (20-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-18, 16-14). More on this match in Sunday's newspaper.

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