As a young volleyball player, Jordyn Moody had resigned herself to the fact that she was never going to be one of the big, powerful hitters that dominate the sport.
“I was always short,” said Moody. “Coming into high school, I was just 5-7.”
Moody entered Hamilton as a freshman and just wanted to get on the court.
“I wanted to play Libero,” Moody said. “I had no clue I would set, ever. I’m so happy that coach (Sharon) Vanis told me I was going to be a setter.”
Moody took to setting quickly, playing on varsity as a sophomore. And as she began to grow, Moody now stands 5-10, so did her game and along with it, the Huskies’ fortunes.
As a senior, Moody racked up 1,011 assists and guided the Huskies to the state championship match, where they lost a five-game thriller to three-time 5A-I champion Xavier.
For her efforts, Moody earned the Tribune’s Girls Volleyball Player of the Year award.
“That state championship game was a heartbreaker,” said Moody. “We did the best we could and just getting there was awesome. I hope the underclassmen remember how it feels and I hope they take it to the next level.”
To get to the next level, the Huskies will have to find a replacement for Moody, who was not only a leader with her play, but a vocal one as well. Moody made life a lot easier for her hitters like Ashli Bellinger, Payton Bock and Brittany Thomas, who all recorded more than 240 kills.
Moody was a sure-handed setter for the Huskies. She had just four setting errors and just 11 errors on digs this season. She also had a 93 percent serving percentage with 47 aces.
For Moody, the greatest joy to being a setter are the times when organization breaks down and she has to ad lib.
“You don’t always have time to think about things,” Moody said. “Sometimes it’s just, ‘Oh, ball. Get it.’
“It’s so nice to make a play, especially if you use a technique that you just learned. It’s even better when a hitter gets a kill off of it.”
Moody will get to continue her development at the college level. She has already signed to play next season at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo.
“It was such a relief to sign,” Moody said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to play right away and the program just keeps developing.”
All-Tribune first team
Name School Yr. Pos. Comment
Macey Gardner Gilbert Jr. OH Overcame injury to take Tigers to 5A-I semifinals
Talia Jones Desert Ridge Sr. OH East Valley Region player of the year
Jordyn Moody Hamilton Sr. S Was driving force behind best team in school history
Bianca Arellano Xavier Jr. S/OH Did everything for Gators; skilled and explosive player
Annalyn Sanders Queen Creek Sr. OH Co-Desert Sky player of the year; made Bulldogs go
Melissa Hess Horizon Sr. MH Desert Valley player of year for back-to-back champs
Player of the year: Jordyn Moody, Hamilton
Coach of the year: James Felton, Seton. With his star, Hayley Lawless, slowed by a shoulder injury, Felton decided it was better to sacrifice some games in the regular season (including the region title) to make sure Lawless was back to full strength in the playoffs. Lawless did not swing fully to rest her shoulder for most of the season but once the 4A-II tournament arrived, she was back to her outside hitter position and led the Sentinels to their third straight 4A-II title.
All-Tribune second team
Name School Yr. Pos. Comment
Jordan Smith Cactus Shadows Sr. L Co-region player of the year, made Falcons click
Isabel Miller Arcadia Soph. MH Region player of the year led team in kills, blocks
Lauren Betlach Seton Jr. OH Raised her game to new level; led team in kills
Ashli Bellinger Hamilton Sr. OH Led Huskies’ high-powered offense with 373 kills
Penina Snuka Gilbert Soph. OH Carried load all season with 520 kills
Amanda Benson Xavier Soph. L Difference-maker with her defense and passing skills
Apache Junction: Alexa Jimenez, Jr., MB; Arcadia: Jensen Barton, Soph., S; Sonya Bray, Sr., MH; Basha: Kehau Baker, Jr., S/OH; Madison Serrano, Sr., OH; Cactus Shadows: Summer Anderson, Sr., OH; Shan England, Sr., Opp; Chaparral: Krista Bennett, Sr., L; Jane Steffens, Sr., S; Corona del Sol: Haley Kesteloot, Jr.., L; Coronado: Amber Webster, Sr., L; Desert Mountain: Jocelyn Leichner, Sr., OH; Molly McDonald, Sr., MH; Desert Ridge: Maggie Nui, Jr., MB; Kaja Sandberg, Jr., MB; Desert Vista: Brooke Honeycutt, Soph., MB; Sydney Schumacher, Soph., OH/L; McKella Williams, Sr., OH; Gilbert: Kayla Lederer, Soph., MB; Jaime Soliz, Sr., L; Hamilton: Alexa Saba, Soph., L; Highland: Halee Rogers, Sr., OH; Horizon: Lexi Anderson, Jr., S/Opp; Nikki Hess, Soph., OH; Horizon Honors: Jessica Laflin, Sr., MB; Valerie McPherran, Jr., OH/L; Marcos de Niza: Emily Eswonia, Sr., OH; Mountain Pointe: Mikaela Novitsky, Sr., Opp; Erika Papadeas, Sr., OH; Notre Dame: Genevieve Pirotte, Soph., OH; Ali Svorinic, Soph., OH/S; Paradise Valley: Kelli Cwiekowski, Sr., OH; Taylor Yantis, Soph., OH; Pinnacle: Morgan Richardson, Sr., S; Queen Creek: Kristy Wickizer, Sr., L; Red Mountain: Heather Leavitt, Jr., OH; Saguaro: Lou Lou Durant, Sr., MB; Anaya Whyte, Jr., OH; Scottsdale Christian: Taylor Stephens, Sr., OH; Jordyn Pfeifer, Sr., OH; Jenifer Scheehle, Sr. OH; Seton Catholic: McKenna Ronan, Sr., S; Tempe Prep: Dominique Espericueta, Sr., OH; Lizzi LeBeau, Sr., L; Monica LeBeau, Jr., S; Kaitlin Schrole, Fr., OH; Valley Christian: Brie Barclay, Sr., OH/DS; Katie File, Jr., MB; Stacey Jones, Sr., OH; Westwood: Andrea Prieto, Sr., L; Williams Field: Marita Hill, Jr., S; Xavier: Abby Hornacek, Jr., S/OH; Megan O’Sullivan, Soph., MB; Caitlin Downs, Sr. OH.