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Prescott dismantles rival Bears in 3-0 sweep (Video and Photo Gallery)

Badgers improve to 5-0 for first time since 2012

Prescott students have some fun as the Prescott Lady Badgers host the Bradshaw Mountain Lady Bears in a volleyball matchup Thursday, September 15, 2016.  (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Prescott students have some fun as the Prescott Lady Badgers host the Bradshaw Mountain Lady Bears in a volleyball matchup Thursday, September 15, 2016. (Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier)

PRESCOTT – Alex Koehler had six kills, Erinn Marroquin chipped in with 17 assists and the Prescott volleyball team won its fifth straight contest to open the season with a 3-0 sweep of rival Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday night.

Marroquin added three kills and nine digs to her assist total, while teammates Grace Hendricks and Karlee Holliday recorded nine digs each for the Badgers, which have started a season 5-0 for the first time since the 2012 club.

“We came out with a lot of energy, and we knew we had to just play our game tonight and not let anything get to us, come out strong and not let anything get in our way,” Koehler said, adding despite the fast start, the Badgers still have “work to do.”

First-year Prescott head coach Josiah Ramirez said it’s important his squad stay “humble” throughout the process, but was proud of how “strong” the entire team looked against the Bears.

“It’s still something I analyze during practices,” Ramirez said about evaluating his players during competition. “Every athlete has their good days and bad days, but tonight I was happy all the girls showed up to play so I can get them rested for this weekend.”

Prescott’s 3-0 (25-5, 25-16, 25-11) victory Thursday night is the 11th time in the past 12 meetings the Badgers have swept the Bears dating back to 2007. In last season’s meeting between the two clubs, Bradshaw Mountain won the first game, 27-25, before losing three straight.

by Brian M. Bergner Jr.

Randee Clifford, a 5-foot-9 senior setter for the Bears, said her team “stopped being aggressive” and let the Badgers “get the best of us when it came to passing.”

“Definitely right now it’s our mental game, we’re coming off of two hard losses. We have to pick it up, we have to believe in ourselves before the match starts, and continue that throughout [the entire match],” Clifford said of the Bears, which were 7-3 entering Thursday’s contest.

Bradshaw Mountain head coach Natali Sobczak said she was concerned about her squad’s sudden difficulty finding a “rhythm.” The Bears began the season 3-0 in power point matches, but have since lost three straight.

“I don’t know why that’s occurring. It’s one of those things in sports that we have to try and figure out,” Sobczak said, adding her seniors have shown “great leadership,” but needs some of the younger players to “step up.”

“I think that’s starting to happen, but I also think they are trying to figure out their places as well. … We’re trying different things, it’s early in the season,” Sobczak said.

NEXT UP

Prescott (5-0, 2-0 4A Grand Canyon) is scheduled to attend the Tournament of Champions at Westwood High School beginning Friday, Sept. 16. The Badgers open tournament play with Desert Vista at noon, and Liberty at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Bradshaw Mountain (7-4, 1-1 4A Grand Canyon) is scheduled to play in the Wolves Classic at Estrella Foothills High School on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16 and 17. The Bears’ opponents on day one of the tournament were unavailable at press time.

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.