Corona Men’s Volleyball
The Aztecs finished the regular season as the No. 10 seed and faced No.23 Maryvale in the 6A Conference Play-In on May 2. After defeating Maryvale 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-13) the Aztecs lost the hard-fought battle to No. 7 Shadow Ridge, 3-2, in the first round of the state playoffs on May 5. Corona won the first set, 25-20, but lost the second set 21-25. The Aztecs then rallied to defeat the Stallions 25-22 in the third set before losing the fourth set 24-26, thus sending the match into a fifth set. It was a close back and forth set with Shadow Ridge finally getting ahead to defeat Corona, 17-15. Corona ended the season 16-16, 7-3 in 6A Central Section. Twelve of the 17 players will graduate on the 2023 roster, including setter Cade Banks who not only led the team in assists with nearly nine per set, but was second on the team in blocks, service aces and third in digs. Cade, with 733 assists, is ranked No. 3 in the AZ Conference 6A in assists. He is ranked No. 10 out of 25 named in the Arizona Top Performers list of players in that stat category. Banks was named to the All-Region first team and for the third year in a row to the Tempe All-City team. “What can I say about Cade? He is going to be hard to replace in our program,” said head coach Geoffrey Horewitch. “Not only was he the starting setter all four years on varsity and a team captain for the last two years, but he was also an indispensable part of our program. He helped make sure we were always going in the right direction.” Next spring Corona will also miss outside hitter Jon Seddon, who led the team in kills, kills per set (2.9) a set. He led the team in hitting percentage at 0.272 and service aces with over 35. Seddon was second on the team in service aces per set, digs and digs per set. His 234 digs placed Seddon at No. 13 on the list of top players in AZ Conference 6A. Seddon was named to the AllRegion second team. “Jon, a four-year varsity player, was a staple player in our program” said Horewitch. “He was our team captain and a leader playing almost every point for us the entire season.” The Aztecs will need to replace four middle blockers Toby Lim, Ollie Hinder, Andrej Mesihovic and Antonio Lopez. Lim was second in hitting percentage with 0.234 and was third on the team in kills per set, total blocks and assists while Hinder led the team in blocks with close to two block a match. Hinder also had the third highest hitting percentage plus was third on the team in kills. “Toby Lim played all four years on varsity and from the start always had the ability to dominate as the best player in his position in the state,” said Horewitch. “He loved to joke and always tried to lighten the mood when his teammates got down.” “Ollie’s main focus, as a coach’s kid, was to get better in order to help the rest of the team,” said Horewitch. “He was a major part of Corona’s basketball team so we only had him in the program for two years but he made an impression because he was named to the Tempe All-City team and to the All-Region Honorable Mention.” Mesihovic played in 40 sets where he averaged close to one kill and one block per set while Lopez averaged 0.4 kills per set and 0.6 blocks a set. “Volleyball was Andrej second sport and this season was his first year playing volleyball,” said Horewitch. “He is strong willed and worked hard to continue to improve his volleyball skills and to prove to himself he had the ability to play volleyball. He worked well with everyone on the team and was very supportive.” “Antonio Lopez was the most positive person on our team, constantly supporting and pushing everyone to work hard and do better,” said Horewitch. “His goalkeeper abilities from playing soccer really helped him play middle blocker.” The team will also need to replace senior outside hitter Nathan Magro who was second on the team in kills and kills per set at 1.6. Magro was named to the All-Region second team. “Nathan was one of those athletes who could play most positions on the court and did just that for us during his four years playing varsity,” said Horewitch. “He would do whatever was needed for the team to be successful. He ended up being a great outside hitter for us this year.” Defensive specialist Kai Becker will be missed for his serving and defensive abilities. He was third on the team in service aces and services aces per set averaging 0.3 service aces per set. He averaged 1.6 digs a set as well and earned All-Region Honorable Mention this season. “Kai was a key starter for us this past season helping the team out a lot with his defensive skill set,” said Horewitch. “We could always count on him to be calm and even keeled on the court, no matter the situation.” Omar Leon, playing defensive specialist, was third on the team in digs per set with 1.9 but was first on the team in aces per set averaging 0.5 aces per set. “Omar was another one of our players who we could count on to be calm and collected while playing defense on the court this past season,” said Horewitch. “He always strived to be the best teammate possible and supported everyone on and off the court.” Opposite hitter Walter Moffatt averaged close to one kill and one dig per set while defensive specialist Ewing Baker saw action on the court in 37 sets serving the ball over 100 times to earn more than 50 points. “Walter Moffatt has a cannon of an arm he used when playing both outside and right-side hitter for us this past season,” said Horewitch. “He improved tremendously on the court and always had a very steady demeanor during games.”
“Ewing Baker only played volleyball a couple of years but was one of our hardest working players,” said Horewitch. “He was always one of the first players into the gym where he developed a great serve and ended up being one of our serving specialists.” Playing outside or opposite hitter, Zachary Jones averaged one kill and one dig per set while earning All-Region Honorable Mention his first season playing volleyball. “You would never guess from watching Zachary Jones on the court that volleyball was his third sport,” said Horewitch. “And that this was his first year playing volleyball.” “Zachary had a very fun personality that he used to get everyone on the team to celebrate.” The five players left after the seniors graduate include the leading passer on the team, junior libero Luke Vlcek who not only led the team in digs with 335 digs or close to four digs a set but was ranked No. 1 in 6A Central, No. 3 in the top performers in AZ Conference 6A and No. 14 in the Top Performers in Arizona. The additional returning players should include current junior outside hitter Joseph Azzlyn Potts, junior setter Jake Peshak, junior middle blocker Bo Dolinsek and junior opposite Micah White. Dolinsek gained valuable experience playing in 49 sets averaging close to one kill and 0.6 blocks a set while Potts played in 57 sets digging up 1.4 balls a set and 3.2 digs a match. Peshak and White saw action on the court where Peshak averaged one dig per match and White had two kills.
Corona Beach Volleyball
Corona’s beach volleyball team ended the regular season with an 11-0 regular season record and were ranked No. 2 in Division I entering the 2023 AIA Beach Volleyball Division I State Championship. Each team consists of five pairs listed as Pairs 1-5. Corona’s first pair was senior Kierstyn Barton and senior Ella Lomigora. Playing on pair No. 2 were two sophomores: Alyssa Aguayo and Emma Uribe. Making up the third pair was junior Maggie Beauer and freshman Erin Clark while the fourth pair was senior Maddie Cohen and junior Julia Owens. Playing on the fifth pair was senior Brianna Mitchell and freshman Adrya Vance. The Aztecs defeated No. 15 Perry, 4-1, in the first round, on their home courts at Kiwanis Park on April 17. Unfortunately, Corona lost in the quarterfinals to No. 7 Queen Creek, 3-2, on April 19 and were eliminated from the tournament. Queen Creek went on to lose in the finals to the No. 1 seed Sandra Day O’Connor. Corona’s top pair of Lomigora and Barton qualified as the No. 6 seed in the Division I Pairs State Championship. Lomigora and Barton had a bye in the first round but were defeated May 3 by Desert Mountain pair in the second round, 21-18, 21-16, at Casteel High School.
Marcos Beach Volleyball
Marcos de Niza had 19 players come out for beach volleyball this spring where the team played in Division II. The top five pairs played in 11 matches. The No. 1 pairs team was junior Giselle Orndorf and junior Isabella Rodriguez while sophomore Laquira Alexander and junior Isabella Newell made up the No. 2 pairs team. Playing at the No. 3 pairs spot were two freshmen: Angelina Arispe and Nevaeh Lizarraga. The No. 4 pairs team was freshman Ilya Molina and sophomore Yulissa Morales while the No. 5 pairs team was junior Mariah Estrella and freshman Madison Staroszik.