Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Fourth-year Morenci head coach Rhyanna Mennen was selected 2A East Region Coach-of-the-Year by a vote of the other head coaches. The 24-9 Wildcats bowed out of the state tourney first round in three sets. Morenci is 61-71 overall during four seasons under Mennen.
Baldwin tabbed region POY, Forgach-Aguilar region offensive POY, Mennen region COY
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – Four Morenci student-athletes and their head coach received 2A East All-Region honors following the conclusion of the 2019 volleyball season. The honorees were selected by a vote of region head coaches.
Junior libero Jadyn Aguilera and sophomore hitter/middle blocker Juliauna Forgach-Aguilar were selected to the first team, junior setter Lanea Leonard and sophomore hitter/middle blocker Devanie Medina to the second team, and 4th-year head coach Rhyanna Mennen East Region Coach-of-the-Year.
Morenci was 24-9 overall this season and 61-71 in four campaigns under Mennen.
Forgach-Aguilar was also named Region Offensive Player-of-the-Year.
Joining the Morenci players on the all-region first team were Thatcher senior setter Haylee Layton, junior libero Maci Lopeman, and sophomore hitter/middle blocker Liv Lunt; Pima junior hitter/middle blocker Brooke Chlarson and sophomore setter Aubrie Sherwood; and Tombstone senior hitter/middle blocker Moxie Mosman.
Thatcher juniors, setter Dallys Casillas and hitter/middle blocker hitter Cassidy Wakefield were named to the all-region second team, as were Pima senior libero Sadie Mecham, Willcox sophomore libero Jazlynn Felix, and Bisbee freshman hitter/middle blocker Gabby Lopez.
Thatcher senior Taya Baldwin was the East Region Player-of-the-Year and Benson junior Emily Darwin the Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
Additionally, Baldwin was tabbed to the 2A All-Conference (all-state) second team. Aguilera and Forgach-Aguilar; Thatcher junior Mikaela Jorgensen, Layton, and Lunt; and Darwin each received honorable mention honors.
Final East Region finishes were Thatcher first (12-0), Pima second (10-2), Morenci third (7-5), Benson fourth (7-5), Tombstone fifth (4-8), Bisbee sixth (2-10), and Willcox seventh (0-12). Thatcher, Benson, and Tombstone’s rosters numbered 14 members, Pima and Morenci 13, Bisbee 10, and Willcox 15.
The state rankings were No. 1 (17-0 seeding) of 50 2A teams for Thatcher, No. 11 (11-4) for Pima, No. 14 (12-6) for Morenci, No. 16 (10-6) for Benson, No. 25 (8-10) for Tombstone, No. 31 (4-11) for Bisbee, and No. 32 (5-13) for Willcox.
Thatcher succumbed 3-0 (11-25, 11-25, 6-25) to No. 2 Scottsdale Christian for the state title at Phoenix North High. It was the third pairing of the programs during the most recent 11 post-seasons, or since the top 24 format was initiated for the 2A class in 2009. Thatcher had a 2-0 advantage, with wins of 3-2 (25-13, 25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 15-9) and 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-13) over Scottsdale Christian in Division IV as No. 3 over No. 11 in 2014 and No. 1 over No. 16 in 2011, respectively.
Scottsdale Christian won its third straight title and is 20-8 in 11 post-seasons while Thatcher is 3-4 in title games and 28-9 in the same span.
The Graham County student-athletes’ 2019 loss followed the 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-13) semifinal win over No. 5 Glendale Trivium Prep, the 3-1 (15-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-7) quarterfinal win over No. 8 Scottsdale Prep and the 3-0 (25-18, 25-18. 25-10) first round over No. 16 Phoenix Christian.
Scottsdale Christian defeated No. 3 Phoenix Veritas Prep 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 26-22, 25-16) in the other semifinal, No. 7 Phoenix Country Day School 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-19) in the quarterfinals and No. 15 Gilbert Classical 3-0 (25-11, 25-9, 25-10) in the first round.
Three of the other four East Region volleyball qualifiers to the 2-day state tourney bowed out in the first round. Three-set losses were suffered by No. 13 Morenci (14-25, 20-25, 24-26) to No. 4 Sedona Red Rock and by No. 14 Benson (4-25, 8-25, 12-25) to No. 3 Veritas Prep. Eleventh ranked Pima was eliminated with a 4-set (20-25, 25-23, 18-25, 21-25) loss to No. 6 Scottsdale Rancho Solano Prep.
Trivium Prep eliminated Sedona Red Rock 3-1 (27-25, 25-19, 15-25, 25-19) in the quarterfinals and No. 12 Phoenix Valley Lutheran 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 30-28) in the first round.
Veritas Prep ousted Rancho Solano Prep 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-12) in the quarterfinals and Benson in the first round.
Other first-round 3-set exits were made by No. 9 Parker to Scottsdale Prep (25-21, 25-17, 27-25) and by No. 10 Chandler Prep to Phoenix Country Day (25-20, 25-17, 25-17).
The higher seeds went 13-2, with the four Metro Region entrants posting an 8-3 record, the East four 3-4, the Central three 2-3, the Valley three 0-3, and the West two 2-2.
There were eight on the 2A all-conference first team, nine on the second team, and a total of 23 received honorable mention.
The first team included Scottsdale Christian senior Taylor Raiola (H/MB) and sophomore Lexi Lambert (setter); Veritas Prep seniors Ellie Coulter (setter), Jessi Medlin (libero), and Averi Miller (H/MB); Trivium Prep senior Sara Frankowski (H/MB); Chandler Prep junior Olivia Codien (H/MB); and Parker junior Demi Durham (H/MB).
Also on the second team were Trivium Prep sophomore Kendal Holt (H/MB), Chandler Prep senior Sydney Thacker (setter), Rancho Solano junior Amanda Koath (H/MB), Scottsdale Prep senior Avery Waier (H/MB), Gilbert Classical senior Monet Bouchard (libero), Valley Lutheran senior Rianna Haro-Orlando (setter), Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic senior Brianna DeVries (H/MB), and Tuba City Greyhills junior Aaliyah Tsinnie (libero).
Other honorable mention players were seniors Kaylee Palm (Arizona Lutheran), Karli Haws (Eagar Round Valley), Zahrah Schultz (Parker), Atlantis Jamerson (Phoenix Christian), Morgan Fritz (Red Rock), Mary Westervelt (Red Rock), Brooke Patterson (Saint Johns), August Tallman (Sanders Valley), and Sydney Martin (Tucson Desert Christian); juniors Evi Yates (Chandler Prep), Nerin Valasakos (Glendale Prep), Lupita Medina (Saint Augustine), Anjolie Navarrete (Saint Augustine), and Bianca Sanabria (Valley Lutheran); and sophomores Hailey Flores (Desert Christian) and Kristen Dasher (Greyhills).