It took five sets, but Arcadia hung on to defeat visiting Queen Creek, 18-25, 25-11, 25-17, 21-25, 15-8. With the win, the No. 6-seeded Titans advance to the quarterfinals of the Division II volleyball state tournament.
Arcadia will travel to Glendale Ironwood for Thursday night's quarterfinals.
Things started out poorly for Arcadia, who were down 10-1 early in the first set, a deficit they never really cut into. Queen Creek junior Jasmine Hanna was the main offensive weapon early on, while Jackie Garvin’s serve caused problems for the Titans (23-12) and their defense, something that made an impression on Arcadia coach Josh Olshan.
“Her serve was awesome,” he said. “When you have a girl that’s that good, you have to just shake it off and it kind of got in our heads. That might be the best serve we faced all year.”
Arcadia (27-4) won the next two sets without as much resistance, due in large part to Izzy Miller’s play at the net. Miller led her team with 26 kills in the match, while Aly Murney, the team’s captain, had 18 digs on the night.
The fourth set saw Olshan’s team fall into another big hole, which they managed to erase before finally dropping the tight set, 25-21. Queen Creek coach Erica Crismon said limiting Arcadia’s scoring runs was a point of emphasis for her team.
“We knew to get on this team that we couldn’t let them get runs of points and I thought in those two sets we won we did a really good job of controlling their runs,” Crismon said.
The decisive fifth set started with a back-and-forth rally that was the longest of the match. Things continued to be close early on, but Arcadia quickly gained the upper hand and ended the set and match with an impressive 11-5 run.
Crismon was proud of her team’s performance despite the disappointing finish.
“It’s a heartbreaker. My girls came to play tonight and I’m just proud of them,” she said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to play that well. We know how to compete down to the very last minute.”
Arcadia’s coach echoed his opponent’s sentiment, even while the Titans move on.
“They played unbelievable. I was so impressed,” said Olshan. “I think the difference in the match was the little things.”