The high school volleyball season is just getting underway, but if early results are any indication of what’s to come, Basha High School has a long, grinding road back to the top of the 6A conference.
Last year’s state champion is off to an 0-3 start, getting shut out in two of those matches.
The Chandler school squeezed past Corona del Sol HS with a 3-2 win in the second match on the schedule, but was blown off the court in a couple of 0-3 losses to Xavier Prep and Perry HS.
The letdown wasn’t entirely a surprise since Basha is working with a young squad this year, with senior leadership coming from libero Haley Carrington. The Bears lost their two top players from last year’s squad, Jaclyn Hodge, the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year, and 5’10” outside hitter, Samantha Drewery.
With only a small core of returning players, Coach Terri Spann is hoping for a boost from a couple of out-of-state transfers that arrived in time for the 2020 season. Spann was named last year’s Arizona Republic Coach of the Year.
A down year for Basha will leave an opening for Gilbert’s Perry High School, which lost to the Bears in the 2019 state championship match. Perry, the No. 2-ranked team in 6A, is off to a 3-0 start that includes an impressive 3-0 win over No. 3 Highland High in the season opener.
Unlike Basha, Perry has a senior-filled roster that is carrying the load and made the difference against a solid Highland team. A quartet of seniors led the attack against the Hawks, with outside hitter and team captain Ella Rud leading the way with 14 kills. Alyssa Montoya added 11 kills and middles Maddie Mayginnis and Makayla Long each contributed six.
Meanwhile, senior setter Jenna Heller was setting the table by distributing 36 assists.
There will be no let-up for either Perry or Basha. Tonight, Perry takes on No. 10-ranked and undefeated Xavier Prep. All three of the Gators’ wins have been impressive, winning seven of their nine matches.
Basha has a bigger challenge tonight. The Bears will host top-ranked Hamilton High, also undefeated.