One of the hottest teams in girls volleyball is not accustomed to such things.
The Skyline volleyball team, which once had a winless season followed up by a one-win season (2008-2009), has won 15 straight going back to the Nike Tournament of Champions to close out the regular season including the last seven region games.
The Coyotes, who finished second to Mesa in the East Valley Region, will look to continue the hot streak on Thursday as one of four area teams alive in the “play-in” portion of the 6A Conference postseason.
The top eight teams will have a home match on Tuesday, Oct. 31 with the ninth through 24th ranked teams playing on Thursday with a chance to qualify for the final 16.
Mesa (14-4) is the highest ranked area team at No. 11 heading into Thursday’s game as the Jackrabbits host No. 22 Red Mountain (8-9).
The Jackrabbits beat the Mountain Lions four times, all sweeps, on the season.
Junior Annie Hatch leads Mesa with 470 kills and 381 digs, while Harley Cummard has 211 kills and 125 kills. Kate Hatch and Kaitlyn Foster run the offense with 614 and 420 assists apiece.
Red Mountain is led by Kayla Subbert, Makenna Fullford and Taylor Westra.
No. 18 Desert Ridge (7-11) travels to No. 15 Highland (8-9) and No. 20 Skyline (10-8) travels to No. 13 Rincon (12-5).
The Jaguars split the regular season with the Hawks.
Desert Ridge is led by Amanda Jonovich’s 286 kills, Sentia Bryant’s 50 kills, Ally Duffy’s 273 digs and Lexi Mercier’s 274 assists.
Dobson (11-7) finished 24th but was bumped by Metro Region champion North, which finished No. 27 at 14-4.
The Coyotes have been a different team since Kamaile Hiapo became eligible at midseason after her transfer from Campo Verde.
The team has lost only once since the All-Arizona hitter stepped into the lineup. Hiapo, who had 31 kills in a five-set win over Mesa, has been very good, but the players around her have had to raise their level as well.
Skyline won 14 matches last year so some talent was there, but the roster has started to match the intensity of the Hiapos, including head coach Vee.
“They have responded well,” Vee said. “Kamaile is very intense and only plays one way – all out. They have really loved and welcomed my daughter to Skyline. She is humble and loves being here.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.