The No. 11-ranked Sedona Red Rock High School volleyball team opened Central Region play on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Paradise Honors High School, winning 3-1 [24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21].
The Scorpions [8-1 in power-point matches, 2-0 Central Region] play in one of the tougher regions in Conference 2A, with two opponents ranked in the top 10, as of Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s rankings.
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“We finally played OK,” Scorpions co-head coach Danni Barker said. “But we can still play much better .... It was a battle.”
Barker said that there were nerves before the match, and that they expected it to be a tough match. One of the team’s areas for growth heading into the season was mental toughness.
After dropping the first set, the Scorpions proved to be resilient. Barker attributed the new focus to more effort in mental preparation before matches, and a longer warm up.
“There was more focus, and I feel like they just played calmer,” Barker said.
Heading into the match against the team from Surprise, there were few surprises.
Two weeks ago, at the Wolves Classic tournament in Phoenix, the team had a chance to watch the Panthers play.
While they are not ranked near the top 10, they knew that they were strong defensively, and stifled Red Rock’s attack.
In the first set, Paradise Honors tipped the ball a lot, and the Scorpions had a hard time recognizing it. Its libero, senior Kaytlyn Jarman, read the entire court and communicated to her teammates.
“They have a really good libero. She reads everything really well. They brought everything up,” Barker said. “They flustered us because they kept digging everything. It wasn’t always pretty but they got every ball back over the net and just let us make the mistakes.”
After 30 days, 10 wins in 13 matches, nearly 50 hours riding the iconic purple Scorpions bus and two nights in a hotel room, the Scorpions returned to Doc Adams Gymnasium.
They hosted Mingus Mountain Academy, improving to 2-0 in region play. They swept the Mountain Lions 25-4,
However Red Rock hits the road again, traveling to the Chandler Prep Volleyball Invite on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30.
It will be the last chance to prepare for the rest of the region schedule, which includes two matches with No. 10-ranked Northland Preparatory Academy and No. 2-ranked Glendale Preparatory Academy.
“Consistency. Putting the ball away. We’ve been watching film,” Barker said. “They can see what they’re doing wrong, which has been really helpful. So they know what they’re doing, [it depends on] if they can make the corrections.”
Its next home match is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at home against Verde Valley rival Camp Verde High School.