SCOTTSDALE —The Mogollon High School varsity volleyball team came into the state playoffs ranked where the Mustangs had been all season long, at No. 1.
The Mustangs had not lost to a 1A team all year (and had only one regular-season loss, at Snowflake on Sept. 4) and the team did not lose a set in returning to the state championship match with three 3-0 victories on Nov. 8-9. In the final match, Mogollon met a No. 2 seed — St. David, a team that had also swept into the final with consecutive 3-0 wins— in a rematch of the 2018 title match.
And the final lived up to all the expectations of a great final. The scoring was close in every set.
Mogollon won the first set 25-22, but St. David came back with straight-set wins for a 3-1 victory and the Tigers’ first state championship since 2016.
St. David won the second set 25-23. Both teams had set point in game three before the Tigers surged ahead for a 27-25 win. St. David won the fourth and deciding set 25-21 to dethrone the defending champions.
“We were really nervous because the last time we played them (the 2018 final) we lost in three,” said St. David senior Jaylin Richardson, who spent her early years in Show Low. “We really just picked each other up — just having a good attitude the whole game.
“After we won (the third set to go up 2-1), we were just hyped after that. We kept going and didn’t let down,” Richardson said.
St. David finishes the season 27-4 overall, with the only losses coming to Florence (three times) and Show Low at Florence’s Gopher Get Down in mid-October.
The Mustangs finish season 26-7 overall
“We knew they are a good team. We didn’t overlook them,” Mogollon senior Tyra Parry said of the final match. “I think we played our hearts out. It was a good game, I’m thankful I was able to play with the team that I have and we play our hearts out for each other.”
Mogollon defeated Teec Nos Pos Red Mesa, the No. 16 seed, 3-0 in the first round at Scottsdale Coronado High on Friday, Nov. 8. The Mustangs won by scores of 25-9, 25-10, 25-12.
In the second round, also on Nov. 8, Mogollon defeated No. 9 Anthem Prep 3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-20).
On Saturday, Nov. 9 at Coronado High, the Mustangs faced No. 4 Rock Point and again won in straight sets, 3-0. The Mustangs won by relatively closer scores, 25-18, 25-22, 25-22.