Sisters split up to help Yavapai, GCU volleyball teams win

One sister continues to build on a standout collegiate volleyball career, while the other is just getting started.

One stayed home in Phoenix and is playing at Grand Canyon University, while the other decided to brave the cold winters to play at Yavapai College in Prescott.

Both of the Durbin sisters contributed to their school’s noteworthy accomplishments this week.

Laurann Durbin, a junior libero at GCU, joined with another local grad to help the Antelopes pull out a come-from-behind victory in the fifth set of a long, drawn-out match with Western New Mexico to win their home opener, 3-2, Tuesday.

To make the win all the more dramatic, the ‘Lopes were down 12-7 and on the brink of defeat in that fifth set when they began to make their move behind a series of critical digs by Durbin.  A kill by Preach gave them the lead and they never looked back, winning it 15-12.

Durbin, a first-team All-Region player while at Sunnyslope High School, finished the long match with 26 digs, one short of taking over third place on Grand Canyon’s all-time list.  And Kristen Preach, a sophomore setter from Xavier Prep in Phoenix, had 42 assists, seven kills, and nine digs.

Junior Stephanie McBride led GCU with 14 kills, finishing with an impressive .276 hitting percentage.  Megan Toth added 13 kills and nine digs in four games.

Durbin needs just 130 more digs this season to tie the school’s all-time record of 1,345, set during the 1996-99 career of Amber LaTarte.  She was named the pre-season Pacific West Conference Libero of the Year and ranked ninth in the nation in digs last year, with 5.62 per game.

Meanwhile, up north, little sister Jessica is just setting out on her own career path, this one from Sunnyslope HS up I-17 to Yavapai College.  The 5’5″ freshman is a setter for the Roughriders, who are off to a 6-1 record this season.

Jessica Durbin had 26 assists in a pivotal game yesterday, as Yavapai beat Scottsdale Community College, one of the top teams in the ACCAC Division II.  It was just the fifth time in 27 outings with SCC that the Roughriders came away on the winning end.

And they did it in big fashion.  The Roughriders swept the No. 4 ranked Artichokes 3-0 in closely-contested sets of 26-24, 27-25, 25-21.

Four Yavapai players recorded 10 or more kills for the match, with another local product, Suzanne Morris, playing a key role.  The 6’0″ freshman middle blocker from Westwood High School in Mesa had 12 putaways, just one behind team leader, Chelsea SzretterHaley Shackelford and Natasha Ray each contributed 11 kills.

Both schools hit the road this weekend, with GCU heading to the Cuyamaca College Tournament in San Diego, and Yavapai scheduled to play in the Marriott Mountain Lion Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo.

(Photo: GCU Athletics)