Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Ashlie Sherwood (17) spikes the ball during Pima’s 3-0 victory over visiting Benson on Thursday. The win gave the Roughriders an unbeaten regional season and crowned them as the 2A East Region Champions.
Pima volleyball goes unbeaten in region
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – Fresh off its big 3-1 win over Thatcher on Wednesday night, the Pima Roughriders’ volleyball team secured the 2A East Region Championship on Thursday as the team capped off an unbeaten season in region play with a 3-0 victory over Benson.
Pima is 10-0 in the region and is 13-2 overall, with its only losses being against conference foe Scottsdale Christian, and 3A Thatcher back on Sept. 24. Thatcher is unbeaten in its region play and is 8-0 in the 3A South Central Region, and 10-2 overall, with its only losses to Snowflake in the opening match of the season and to Pima. Thatcher has only dropped seven games all season long – four of them to Pima.
It was Senior Night in Pima on Thursday, and the team honored its seniors by starting all of them, including Nevaeh Grant who was hobbled by a leg injury, and Brook Chlarson, who just had surgery and was on crutches. Chlarson’s action on the court was only ceremonious, and she headed back to the bench prior to the first serve, however, Grant continued to contribute throughout the match where she could.
“We were just trying to get everybody involved – our four seniors,” head coach Keoni Bailado said. “With a couple of them being injured it was a little tough, but we know how to play volleyball, so everybody just does their job when they’re out there . . . I think it was big for her (Chlarson) and her teammates for her to be here for her last home game.”
The first game was pretty even and the teams were tied 9-9 when junior Saydee Allred went on a tear and had seven aces for the Roughriders’ next eight points. The Bobcats couldn’t recover, and Allred helped finish them off with four kills for four of Pima’s last five points, including the game-winner.
In the second game, it was junior Aubrie Sherwood’s turn to tickle the twine with her serve as she opened up with three aces in Pima’s first five points to go up 5-0. Junior Maya Mattice added a kill, and Allred had two kills and two aces and before you knew it Pima was firmly in control, 16-2.
Benson led a rally that included a big block for a winner, however, after a Benson player served into the net, Ashlie Sherwood showed she knows how to serve an ace as well and Pima was up 18-7. Another ace from Mattice and two big kills from senior Kali Nelson sealed the deal, 25-9 for game two.
In the third game, Benson took the early lead but after the teams were knotted at 6-6, Pima surged forward and never looked back.
A team effort included multiple kills and aces by Ashlie Sherwood, Allred, and Nelson as Pima dispatched Benson in the final game, 25-15.
Pima will finish up its regular season Thursday, Nov. 5, at Safford, starting at 6 p.m. The Roughriders opened their season against the Bulldogs on Sept. 22 and beat them 3-1.
“We’re excited to finish against a good team,” Bailado said. “Hopefully, it will get us ready for the postseason.”
Click here to view a photo album from the match.