Prep Volleyball: Badgers claw Bears in rivalry matchup

Prescott claims 3rd straight victory, open 2-0 in Grand Canyon region play

The Prescott student section cheers for the Badgers as they take on rival Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

The Prescott student section cheers for the Badgers as they take on rival Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

McKella Wright had 15 assists and 12 digs, Tessa Rothfuss added six ace serves and the Prescott volleyball team extended its winning streak to three straight matches with a 3-1 victory over rival Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday night.

Rothfuss added 12 assists to her stat total, while Daphne Skinner recorded three kills, two blocks and one dig. Sabina Dimaano-Simmons and Bethany Dillon each had 11 digs for Prescott, which started 0-2 after getting swept by Sunrise Mountain and Cactus to begin the season.

Prescott (3-2, 2-0 Grand Canyon) set the tone in game one, jumping out to a 14-3 lead in Prescott Valley after a slew of errors by the Bears offensively, claiming a 25-10 victory.

“It definitely helped to come in pumped and fired up. We’ve been talking about it the last two weeks, making sure we stay focused and pumped for this match,” Prescott head coach Josiah Ramirez said, adding the gymnasium’s energy was unbelievable.

“Both schools are going to be rooting on their team, so we definitely fed off that energy in the first game,” Ramirez said.

Kate Radavich, a 5-foot-10 freshman who didn’t seem phased at all by the large crowd, said she’s never been in a situation like Thursday night, but her team was there for support.

“My whole team, they are all my best friends, and just so good to have that type of energy. Just to feel that way is great,” Radavich said.

Daphne Skinner, a senior captain who’s played in atmosphere’s like this before when these two cross-town rivals lock horns, said the student support meant a lot to her team.

“The student section helped pump us up. We had high hopes, and we’re ready to go. We were very prepared,” Skinner said, adding the three-match winning streak has improved their confidence.

“We all feel better about it, since we lost our first two matches. … We have high hopes,” Skinner said.

In game two, the Bears played much more relaxed and claimed a 25-20 victory to tie the series at 1-1, but Prescott wouldn’t be denied in game three, claiming a 25-18 win and Bradshaw Mountain never recovered.

For the Bears, head coach Natalie Sobczak’s club committed an error on five of their first six serves in the rotation to begin game one.

“You can’t score points playing like that. We were making all the mistakes. I told them that I know they are better than that. [And] they are,” Sobczak said. “They are a very talented group of young girls and I think their nerves got to them tonight.”

Bradshaw Mountain (3-3, 1-1 Grand Canyon) committed 28 total attack errors in Thursday night’s four-game match, finishing with a -0.039 hitting percentage.

Standouts for the Bears included Mailani Manuel with eight kills, while Saylor Ford recorded 10 assists and Reillie Smith added 13 digs.

UP NEXT

Prescott returns home to host Coconino at the dome Tuesday, Sept. 19. Two nights later, the Badgers welcome rival Mingus on Thursday, Sept. 21. Both matches are set for 6 p.m.

Bradshaw Mountain will attempt to stop a three-match losing streak on the road as they play Mingus in Cottonwood on Tuesday, Sept. 19, then travel to Flagstaff and play Coconino on Thursday, Sept. 21. Both matches are scheduled for 6 p.m.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate sports editor and a columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him at bbergner@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.