Local HS volleyball stars lead AZ colleges to tourney titles

It was a good weekend for women’s D-I volleyball in Arizona, and several local high school products as well.

Northern Arizona won its 11th Fiesta Bowl Tournament Championship in Flagstaff by rolling over Maryland Eastern Shore, 3-0, and the University of Arizona swept Cal State Bakersfield Saturday afternoon to win the Wildcat Classic at McKale Center.

Arizona State was unable to get past Utah State in the ASU Sheraton Classic, as the Aggies swept the Sun Devils in the final match to claim the title. The Devils split on the opening day, beating Seattle University, 3-1, in the first game and then losing to San Diego State by a similar score in the nightcap.

But senior Sarah Reaves, an athletic outside hitter from Ironwood High School in Glendale, played well enough to move into sixth place on ASU’s career kills list, as her totals climbed to 1,382 kills, just 10 short of the fifth-place spot.  Reaves and Ashley Kastl, a sophomore outside hitter from nearby Mountain Pointe HS in Phoenix, were named to the All-Tournament team.

In Tucson, the No. 24 Wildcats ran their win streak to four consecutive matches by beating Cal State Bakersfield and topped the weekend off when Whitney Dosty was named the Most Valuable Player for the Classic.

Dosty, a senior outside hitter from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, had 12 kills and 10 digs in the title game against Cal State, which is her second double-double already this season.  And senior setter Paige Weber led the Cats in assists through the three sets, with a total of 31.

Dosty and middle blocker Cursty Jackson, who had eight kills and two aces against Cal State, were named to the All-Tournament team.

And up in Flag, the Lumberjack coach joined in on the individual honors.  Craig Choate, in his third year at the helm of the NAU program, picked up the 300th career win of his 20 years coaching volleyball.   Choate began in 1990 at New Mexico State and went on to log 14 seasons at San Jose State before taking over at NAU.

The Lumberjacks also laid claim to this year’s tournament MVP, Kobi Christensen.  The 6’0″ junior who plays middle blocker and outside hitter racked up 48 kills on 78 attacks in the three weekend matches of the tournament.  In the finale against Maryland Eastern Shore, she turned in the match’s only double-double, with 13 kills and 11 digs.

NAU finished the tournament as the only undefeated team and posted solid numbers throughout the weekend.   They finished their run by holding Maryland to a .149 hitting percentage while hitting .278 as a team.

(Photo: NAU Athletics)