Perry HS, Corona del Sol move to the top of 6A volleyball

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                </div>  Like ships passing in the night, the Corona del Sol High School and Desert Vista High girls’ volleyball teams have quietly slipped past each other as they continue to […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Like ships passing in the night, the Corona del Sol High School and Desert Vista High girls’ volleyball teams have quietly slipped past each other as they continue to move in opposite directions in the rankings.

Desert Vista, the preseason No. 1 team in the state’s top conference, has slipped to No. 6 in the latest azcentral sports rankings.  Corona, which began the season at No. 5, has moved up to No. 2.

And last weekend’s Tournament of Champions Invitational, which hosted many of the state’s top teams in the field of 36 schools at Westwood High School in Mesa, served to confirm Corona’s status as a legitimate contender for the state 6A title this season.

The Aztecs (16-1) rolled through the tournament undefeated, beating Hamilton High (16-1) in the finals, 25-20, 22-25, 16-14.  Corona used the championship victory to avenge a loss earlier in the season to Hamilton, when the Huskies swept them in three straight sets in the third game of the season.

But Corona was missing a key ingredient to their potent offense in that first meeting.  Brooke Nuneviller, the junior outside hitter-libero was not on the court for that game, due to a commitment to play for the US Youth National Team.

The 5’11” power hitter was back in the lineup for the TOC, however, and the outcome this time was much different. Nuneviller led the Aztec attack with 12 kills and fueled many of the comeback efforts whenever Hamilton would pull ahead.  Senior Lauren Forte, the 6’4″ middle blocker, also recorded double-digit kills with 10.

Junior setter Abby Meyer contributed 20 assists and 11 digs to the Corona win.

Hamilton had one player with double-digit kills, senior middle blocker Preslie Anderson who had 10 kills and seven digs.  Junior  Shannon Ryan posted 24 assists before an ankle injury took her out of the game midway through the second set. The Huskies are getting dangerously thin at that setter position; Ryan is the third to go down with injuries this season.

Desert Vista, which is carrying six D-I commits on its roster, was also among the 36 schools competing in the TOC this year.  The Thunder got off to a good start, winning their first four games before dropping the final three to Corona, Centennial High and Mountain Pointe High School.

Perry High School is currently sitting atop the 6A rankings.  It has yet to lose, sitting at 17-0, and has already beaten Desert Vista and will play Hamilton next week.  Corona is not on its 2016 schedule.

The Pumas, who returned six of their top eight players, sent a message to the rest of the 6A conference, which was just formed this year, that this should be their year.  They won the 20-team House of Payne Invite a couple of weeks ago, taking every game they played in just two sets.

Desert Vista (9-6) was considered a heavy favorite to go all the way this season.  If they are able to win the state championship, it would be their third straight.  That would put them in some elite company.  The only other two schools to win three straight were Tucson’s Sahuaro High and Phoenix power Xavier Prep (twice).

But after the Thunder’s performance at the TOC, that is beginning to look a little more like a long shot.

And Corona re-affirmed why it should have been figured more prominently in the title talk by beating Desert Vista again two days ago, sweeping all three sets.