October 22, 2004
Corona del Sol volleyball coach Janna Corbett was nervous entering Thursday’s match with 5A Central Region rival Desert Vista, worried that a calculator and spreadsheet would decide who would host the region tournament.
Those butterflies were quickly squashed in the Aztecs’ emotion-charged 25-22, 25-23 victory over the Thunder.
With the win, Corona (23-8, 8-0) locked up home-court advantage for the region tournament and eliminated the power-point tiebreaker that a loss would have created.
Entering the match, the Aztecs were in seventh place overall in the computer poll, with Desert Vista (27-16, 6-2) just two spots and one point behind.
"I really don’t have a voice now, but that’s fine with me," Corbett said.
The match featured backand-forth action that was reminiscent of the teams’ meeting at Desert Vista just more than two weeks ago.
Just like the previous match — a straight-set win for Corona — the Aztecs were led by their two powerful outside hitters, senior Kellie Phillips and sophomore Michelle Hein.
While Phillips led the team with 10 kills, Hein’s biggest contribution came in the decisive second game. With the game tied at 12-12, Hein had four kills in a 6-1 Corona run that gave it the lead for good. Hein finished the match with eight kills and a team-high 11 digs.
"Michelle’s really young, but she plays like an older player," Corbett said of her sophomore dynamo. "She has a great angle shot and she knows where the (opposing) players are at."
Lisa Helmers added seven kills while Aubrey Pancratz chipped in six for the Aztecs. Rachel Jensen and Kelsey Thomsen, who each had five kills, led the Thunder
The Thunder made the final game interesting with their own rally. Down 22-16, Desert Vista reeled off five straight points to cut the margin to one. However, that was the closest the match would be as the teams exchanged points and Corona’s Shauna Niemann blocked a Thunder swing to end the match
With the win, the Aztecs will host the Central Region tournament at Sammy Duane Gymnasium.
However, Desert Vista coach Molly West said: "It just comes down to us performing. It doesn’t matter if it’s an orange gym or a blue gym."