Flagstaff girls volleyball had a single theme for this season: to play with no regrets.
With a perfect record on the line, top-seeded Flagstaff fulfilled that goal as it played from behind to defeat Arcadia in five games (23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 15-10) in the Division II volleyball state championship Tuesday at Gilbert Mesquite High School.
“We had that attitude in every single match,” said Flagstaff head coach Beth Haglin, who along with her coaching staff wore black T-shirts printed with the acronym of WNR, which stands for With No Regrets. “We knew we were going to leave it all out on the court.
“I never dreamed that we’d be 42-0,” Haglin added of her team’s 42-0-1 blemish-free season record. “I never really thought about it.”
The third game was the momentum changer.
Already ahead by two games, sixth-seeded Arcadia (30-6) led by as many as 10 points at 18-8. Unfortunately for Arcadia, it couldn’t maintain its lead or close the title match out in three games as Flagstaff went on a 15-5 run to take the third set. Arcadia tied the game at 23 but was unable to overcome a Flagstaff kill and service ace.
“After we won the third game, we said, ‘We can do this. We know how to fight. We know how to play well from behind,'” said senior setter Bree Davis.
“These girls are an amazing group,” Haglin added. “They always know they can pull it out.”‘
The fourth game was closely fought with both teams trading points for the majority of the game. Flagstaff took at three-point lead late at 21-18. Arcadia came back to knot the game at 22 but could not take the lead.
The fifth game featured five different ties early on before Flagstaff went on a 7-2 run to seal the state title.
The first game was played close throughout with neither team leading by more than four points. In the second game, Arcadia led by as many as six points at 16-10. Flagstaff took a three-point advantage at 23-20 but was outscored 6-1 down the stretch.
For Flagstaff, senior middle blocker Izzy Gosar paced the offense with 16 kills and six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Courtney Leffel contributed 21 digs and 12 kills. Davis had 38 assists and eight blocks while junior outside hitter Randi Powers added 18 digs and 12 kills.
“We are a team in every sense of the word,” Davis said. “We don’t like to lose. Especially in a match like this, we don’t want to lose and I think we showed everybody that we’re not a losing team.”
Arcadia’s Izzy Miller led her team in both kills and digs with 24 and 18, respectively. Senior Jensen Barton added 17 kills and 24 assists. Stacey Benton had four service aces and 12 kills.