Aztec girls volleyball hopes bolstered by returning talent
Last season’s girls volleyball team had an amazing run to the finals of the state 5A-I tournament against the eventual winner, Xavier Prep, after taking three higher ranked teams to five games before defeating each: Mountain Pointe, Desert Vista and Gilbert.
With only two seniors but a deep and talented team, the Lady Aztecs’ goal is once again to go far in the state tournament.
The Lady Aztecs return four starters: setter Cassie Fish; middle blocker Stephanie Kaup; libero and co-captain Hailey Kesteloot; and outside hitter and co-captain Alexa Moser.
Junior setter Fish is averaging close to 8.5 assists a game, leading the team in service aces with 15 while senior Kaup has 27 kills, 11 service aces and 20 total blocks.
Junior Kesteloot is leading the team in digs, averaging over three per game, with 11 service aces. Junior Moser also leads the team in service aces with 15; she is second on the team in kills with 63 and second in digs with 2.2 per game.
In addition to the returning starters, the Lady Aztecs have a lineup of talented players who have played in a significant number of games early in the season.
Sophomore Kasey Kiefer, new to varsity, is having a huge impact at middle blocker so far this season. Kiefer leads the team in kills at 72, or 2.6, a game, with 11 total blocks and 49 digs.
Other players having a positive impact are junior middle blocker Jamie Burt, who has played 24 of the 32 games so far, amassing 34 kills and 11 total blocks, and junior outside hitter Kerry Lorenz and senior co-captain Hailey Tropsa. Both Lorenz and Tropsa have both played in 18 games with 24 and 22 kills respectively.
Two 6-foot juniors, Nicolette Sawicki, with 30 kills on 49 attempts and Kayla Ronda at 2.2 kills a game, should provide additional firepower as opposite and outside hitters. Junior Liann Kline, playing so far in 15 games with 14 kills on 31 attempts, should also continue to provide depth to the outside-hitter position.
On defense, the Lady Aztecs will be counting on junior Megan Reum, 1.4 digs a game; sophomore Stephanie Kennedy, 1.3 digs a game; and backup freshman setter Olivia Ortiz, who is leading the team in kill percentage with 7 kills on 7 attempts, to help out libero Kesteloot dig the balls up so setter Fish can run the offense.
The Lady Aztecs, 8-5 overall, had won Central region matches against Mesquite and Mountain View but were scheduled to play two difficult teams, Gilbert (11-2) and Desert Vista, the week of Sept. 20.
Up next, Corona would face Basha (9-3) at home Sept. 28, be at Highland Sept. 29, and away at Dobson Sept. 30.
Corona Cross Country
The Corona boys and girls cross country teams both took fourth place at the George Young Elite Cross Country Invitational sponsored by Brophy and Xavier Prep high schools Sept. 18 at Sanctuary Golf Course in Scottsdale.
The boys team finished behind Alhambra, Mountain View and Brophy, while the girls team took fourth behind Xavier and then Central region foes Mountain View and Highland.
Corona senior Jared Hirschl came in 11th, sophomore Jake Whitney 18th, senior Daniel Wrapp 22nd, senior James Hert 29th, freshman Ryan Normand 47th, senior Michael Seall 69th, and sophomore Cody Jackson 105th out of 179 runners for the boys team.
On the girls team, junior Dani Lemieux crossed the finish line in 10th place; senior Sara Wright in 20th; sophomore Hallie Swenson 23rd; senior Alyssa Ramsland 51st; junior Hannah Lewis 52nd; senior Hanna Snyder 79th; and freshman Mason Kuluris 100th out of 157 runners.
Corona’s cross country teams also competed at the 2010 Chandler Cross Country Invite held Sept. 11 at Tumbleweed Park. At this meet the runners are divided based on school year. The combined boys team took third place behind Highland and Desert Vista, while the girls team took fifth after Desert Vista, Hamilton, Chaparral and Cactus Shadows.
Results on the boys team included a second place finish for Normand in the Freshman Boys category. In the same category, Andrew Truswell was 15th; Josh Ambre 30th; Bridger Lewis 46th; and Brandon Rezac 62nd.
In the boys sophomore class Whitney came in third, Jackson 25th, Will Morgan 30th and Alex Frantz 42nd.
Junior class results included Grant Swenson at 40th and Jansen Colella at 57th. The senior class had Hirschl in fifth, Wrapp 13th, Hert 14th, Seall 33rd, Jeff Morrison 48th, Scott Eidson 77th, and Andrew Jimenez 104th.
The girls team results included a 13th place finish for Kuluris in the freshman category along with Hannah Dinell in 19th and Hannah Webber in 36th. The girls sophomore team finishers included Swenson in eighth, Kate Halligan in 18th, Kierstynn Wile in 85th, and Amy Marlar in 107th.
Junior girl results included a fourth place finish for Lemieux, a 17th for Hannah Lewis, and a 34th for Cyndia Yu. The runners for the senior girls team finished close together. Wright was 14th, followed by Ramsland at 19th, Ellen Dunn 20th, Hanna Snyder 22nd followed by Christy Garrison at 47th.
Both teams were scheduled to run in the Ojo Rojo Invitational at Tumbleweed Park Sept. 25, followed by a Mountain View, Chandler and Desert Ridge meet Sept. 29, once again at Tumbleweed.
Corona’s Swim/Dive Teams
Corona’s girls swim and dive team came in first in the Mesa Relays held Sept. 11 with 372 points, beating out Red Mountain by 32 points with 340. The boys team came in fifth, but when the girls and boys team scores were combined, Corona placed second behind Red Mountain.
The girls diving team of Vicki Sanford, Carrie Tate, Carli Giese and Chloe Hacker took first place in the 1 meter diving event totaling 289.8 points. The next closest team was Skyline with 261.15.
Corona’s girls golf team won the City Tournament by 32 strokes held Sept. 13-16 at Ken McDonald, Ahwatukee Country Club and Ahwatukee Lakes golf courses. The City Tournament pits the six Tempe Union High School golf teams against each other in a three-day event.
Corona golfer Dana Finkelstein took first place overall by nine strokes, or an average of 34 for each of the three outings. Corona finished first with 500 points, Desert Vista was second with 532 and Mountain Pointe third at 534.
The Lady Aztecs had three events scheduled the week of Sept. 20. They were set to play against Basha and Horizon Sept. 20 and against Highland, Marcos de Niza and Perry Sept. 22 before playing in the Aguila Tournament at Maryvale Golf Course Sept. 24.
Up next, the Lady Aztecs will play against Mesquite at Greenville Lakes Golf Course Sept. 27 and then travel to Prescott for the Prescott Invitational at Antelope Hills South Course Sept. 29.