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Badgers sweep Pueblo, advance to state quarterfinals (PHOTO GALLERY)
Uvila notches nine kills, Marroquin adds 16 assists in victory

Prescott's Abbey Smith hits a winner as the Lady Badgers take on Pueblo Magnet in the first round of the 4A state volleyball playoffs Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

Prescott's Abbey Smith hits a winner as the Lady Badgers take on Pueblo Magnet in the first round of the 4A state volleyball playoffs Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

by Brian M. Bergner Jr.

PRESCOTT — Ashlynn Uvila had nine kills, Erinn Marroquin chipped in with 16 assists and the No. 2-ranked Prescott volleyball team advanced to the second round of the 4A state playoffs with a 3-0 sweep over Pueblo Magnet on Wednesday night.

Uvila hit a team-high .471 with only one attack error for the Badgers, which have won six straight heading into Saturday’s matchup with No. 7 Seton Catholic. The Sentinels won their first-round match Wednesday night over No. 10-seeded Coconino to advance, 3-1.

“We’re really looking forward to heading into the next round of state and keeping our winning streak alive. We want to bring home a state title,” Uvila said, adding Saturday’s match with Seton Catholic may be the biggest of her volleyball career to date.

“We’re going to go into all guns a-blazing, and hopefully get the win,” Uvila said.

Arriving 25 minutes before the scheduled start time, No. 15-seeded Pueblo Magnet quickly found itself trailing 12-6 in game one before losing 25-10.

The Warriors briefly led 8-7 in game two after an ace serve, but Prescott head coach Josiah Ramirez’ timeout recharged the Badgers, which responded with an 18-9 run to take game two, 25-17.

Prescott won game three, 25-18, for the sweep.

“We had a lot of energy, and we were mentally prepared for the game, but I think we need to stay focused more, and stay positive,” said Abbey Smith, who had six kills and five digs in the win.

Alex Koehler, who recorded seven kills, three digs and four solo blocks, said the Badgers played as a team Wednesday night, but they’ll need to be more “aggressive” against Seton Catholic on Saturday.

“The teams get tougher as the tournament moves along,” Koehler said.

Ramirez, who notched the first state victory in his high school coaching career, was all business after Wednesday’s win.

“Honestly I can’t be thinking about that right now,” Ramirez said about his first state victory. “I need to be thinking about practice tomorrow and getting these girls moving forward and making sure we’re ready for Saturday’s match.”

Ramirez added the Badgers can’t treat Saturday like a “joke,” and that every touch needs to be handled seriously.

“I mean, we can have fun, but we need to do things right in the practice gym so that when Saturday comes, it’s second nature,” Ramirez said.

NEXT UP

Prescott (27-11, 11-1 Grand Canyon) will host the Sentinels on Saturday in round two of the 4A state playoffs Saturday, Nov. 5.

Seton Catholic (23-10, 8-0 Desert Sky) is seeded No. 7 in the playoffs, and have won eight straight contests. The two clubs will fight for a trip to the state semifinals Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Mountain Point High School.

Official start time Saturday is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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