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Vikings volleyball takes fourth at Flagstaff tournament

Riley McNelly hits the ball in earlier game in Williams. (Marilyn R. Sheldon/WGCN)

Riley McNelly hits the ball in earlier game in Williams. (Marilyn R. Sheldon/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Last week was a busy one for Vikings volleyball Coach Connie Stevens’ squad. The team played nine matches, including six at a tournament in Flagstaff Sept. 9-10.

“We were the only 1A school at the tournament,” Stevens said. “We placed fourth in the gold bracket, against 3A and 4A schools.”

The Vikings fist faced Coconino High School Saturday. In a hard fought contest, Williams came out on top with scores of 26-24 and 26-25, in a timed match.

The team then played Chino Valley where Williams was again victorious, with scores of 25-19, 22-25 and 15-8.

In their final match of the day, the Vikings fell to the eventual tournament winner, Estrella, 14-25 and 19-25.

“Estrella was amazing,” Stevens said. "One of a larger school’s advantage is that they have a deeper bench. We only had seven players, and some of them have 13 or 14.”

Sept. 10 started with another win, this time over Tuba City. After dropping the first game 14-25, the Vikings rallied and outscored Tuba City, 25-17 and 15-12. They then faced Estrella again, and lost 11-25 and 14-25.

The final match of the tournament was against Flagstaff in a single game to 30. The Vikings lost 15-30, which earned them a fourth place tournament finish.

In other action, the Vikings traveled to Grand Canyon, where both varsity and junior varsity played a double header. In the opening junior varsity match, the squad defeated the Phantoms 25-18 and 25-20. The varsity also won its opener, 25-7, 25-8 and 25-16.

The top server for varsity was Rory Stevens with 11 points, followed by Kai Mortensen with 10. Shaelee Echeverria had 22 kills and eight blocks, and Mortensen tallied five kills.

In the second half of the double-header, the Vikings junior varsity lost its match, 22-25 and 19-25. The varsity continued to win, posting scores of 25-12, 25-17 and 25-8. Lexi Sandoval was the top server with 19 points, and Echeverria was a standout with 15 kills, and 14 blocks.

“She’s rocking,” Stevens said of Echeverria. “As of last week, she was leading the state in blocks and kills.”

Both Williams teams came out on top against St. Michael Sept. 8.

Junior varsity scores were 25-23 and 25-15. The varsity topped the visitors 25-19, 25-16 and 25-9.

“The scores weren’t indicative of the quality of the match,” Stevens said. “St. Michael was scrappy, and played good volleyball. Again, Echeverria had an impressive 17 kills and seven blocks. Mortensen also tallied eight kills, Riley McNelly had six blocks and Stevens had 28 assists.

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