The Arizona Western volleyball team’s attempt to climb the conference standings didn’t end well on Wednesday night inside “The House,” falling to Glendale Community College in four sets.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the early sets, headlining two powerful offenses. The Matadors (11-12 overall, 4-3 ACCAC) had ample opportunities in the first and second sets to spark momentum.
Instead, leading 24-22 in each of the first two sets, the Matadors would commit several costly mistakes to the Gauchos, losing by scores of 28-26 and 26-24.
“We made too many errors,” said Lorayne Chandler. “The resiliency isn’t there yet. I think we could do a better job of executing the game plan and limit our errors.”
AWC would turn things around in the third set, finding rhythm offensively and creating an early lead that helped ignite the crowd.
Led by sophomore Jovana Papaz’s four kills in the third set, the Matadors completed their best set of the night to extend the match. Papaz ended her evening with 13 kills.
However, whatever momentum the Matadors generated in the third set quickly vanished in the early stages of the fourth and final set. The Gauchos (18-2 overall, 7-1 ACCAC) raced to an immediate 10-4 lead behind the arm of outside hitter, Breanna Allen.
Whipping 11 kills past the AWC defense, Allen distinguished herself as the go-to player for Glendale on Wednesday.
“Our blocks didn’t do a good enough job,” Chandler said. “She was striking it really well.”
The Matadors never quit despite digging themselves in a massive hole in the fourth set. Sophomore Melissa Garciglia Banuelos was determined to mount a comeback, delivering three of her team-high 15 kills in the final set.
Whenever AWC needed a big play, Garciglia answered and provided much needed boosts of momentum.
“She’s a big help for us,” Chandler said. “We’d like to have six of her. Unfortunately, we have to play better as a team.”
Other key contributors for the Matadors were Delaney St. Pierre and Nayeli Vilchez. St. Pierre recorded 22 assists, while Vilchez registered 19 assists and 14 digs.
The Matadors continue to skid, as Wednesday night was their third loss in a row. And with the season dwindling down, Chandler is challenging her sophomores.
“We have quite a few sophomores who need to recognize we only have a few more opportunities to really be successful,” she said. “We’re going to make sure their confidence level remains high.”
The Matadors return to action on Friday night when they travel to South Mountain Community College.