This year, Thunder reigns at the Goldwater

    It wasn’t Xavier Prep standing in the way of Gilbert High School’s quest
win the Goldwater Volleyball Festival, generally considered the
cadillac of the Arizona volleyball tournaments.  That was last year,
when Xavier downed Gilbert 25-14, 25-16 in the championship match. 
  This year it was a different team, but similar results.  Gilbert made
it all the way to the finals again against some of the state’s best
volleyball teams, but it was Desert Vista HS that pulled the rug out
from under the Lady Tigers in the finals of the 2009 Goldwater, 35-18,
24-26, 15-9.  
    Play in the finals represented some of the best
high school volleyball talent in the state; Desert Vista is ranked No.
2 in 5A-I (AIA power rankings) and Gilbert is ranked No. 4.  Desert
Vista, just three power points behind top-ranked Xavier Prep, returned
five starters from last year’s title runners-up and were expected to be
strong contenders again. Gilbert is a young team, trying to build on
every game.
    The final opportunity to get tournament experience
before the Nov. 9 State tournament begins will be Oct. 23-24 when the
Highland Tournament of Champions takes place.
    Players in the
Desert Vista team photo include: (from row, from left) Kelsey Brown,
Erika White, Anniiya Robinson, Kylie Harmon, Aubrey
LaFountain, Renae
Sniegowski, Haley van Raaphorst.
(back row, from left) Courtney
Kastelic, Kyle Hartman, Brooke Honeycutt, McKella Williams, Betsi
, the 5’11” senior outside hitter, leads the team in kills (255) and digs (295).  The 6’0″ Hartman, also a senior, is the team leaders in aces (49), and Van Raaphorst is a 5’7″ junior that leads in assists (554).