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The Sedona Club Volleyball team won the Arizona Regional Club AA championship May 5 in Tempe.

The teams consisted of girls that were age 16 and younger.

 By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

The Sedona Club Volleyball team won the Arizona Regional Club AA championship May 5 in Tempe.

The teams consisted of girls that were age 16 and younger.

This was the first Sedona club volleyball team to win a regional championship.

Sedona finished 41st overall out of 88 total teams that competed in the tournament but finished first in the AA gold division, winning the championship.

“I’ve been doing this for five years now, and we’ve never even come close,” Head Coach Julie Mai said.

“So it was a pleasant surprise when the girls put it all together and went out and won it all,” she added.

Just hoping to compete, Marijana Jovanovic, Brittinie Saenz, Shelby Brekke, Lorin Saenz, Logan Reilly and Hayley McCord made the trip.

Winning the championship is one thing, but winning the championship with only six girls and having no substitutes is another.

“What are you going to do? You have to play and not worry about the numbers,” Mai said.

In the first two matches of the day, the girls defeated the Surprise Volleyball Club and the High Altitude team out of Flagstaff.

“The girls began to think that they could actually win it after a few victories early,” Mai said.

In the third match, the Sedona team faced the Zia Volleyball Club and won easily in two games.

“I knew we were pretty confident after that match,” Mai said.

In the semifinals, the match wasn’t so easy, as the girls were given some trouble by the Gila Valley Club team.

They were down 12-4 early in the first game but rallied to win it 25-20.

In the second game, the SCV team made a few mistakes to an undefeated club and lost 25-18.

The SCV team came through in the clutch, however, and won the third game and the match, 16-14.

“We had some inexperienced servers, but they came through for us,” Mai said.

The great service play was by Brekke and Saenz during the final game.

Winning this match would send the SCV team to the finals against the Victory Lions.

It wasn’t really a contest, however, and the SCV team defeated the VL 25-20 and 25-18 to take home the championship trophy.

“The girls were so excited. There was a very positive energy around our team,” Mai said.

Mai, an assistant coach for the Sedona Red Rock High volleyball team, said she believes this was a great victory for the girls, a great victory for the club team and a great victory for the SRRHS volleyball program.

“This win strengthens our program. It’s a huge confidence booster for these kids,” Mai said.

“Playing club volleyball makes them better. These kids know they will be one step ahead of the players that don’t play,” she added.

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