1. Horizon: Defending champion, which returns seven of the state’s better players, has gotten even better with transfers of setter Roxanne Lake and libero Gabrielle Contreras.
2. Xavier: New coach. Same expectations. Returns its two top hitters — Mia Teilborg and Khalia Lanier.
3. Gilbert: Joe Hesse has had many talented teams, but calls this one, which returns five starters, his best defensive squad yet.
4. Centennial: Ready to play with the traditional top-division powers with five returning starters, including leader Maddy Mertz.
5. Desert Vista: Returns four starters, including middle blocker Vanessa Wesley and libero Lexi Glover.
6. Hamilton: Returns just two players but welcomes in 6-foot-3 transfer/power hitter McKenna Woodford.
7. Mountain Ridge: Graduated tons of talent but returns three starters who have a lot of experience going deep in the postseason.
8. Sandra Day O’Connor: Schedule may actually comply for a strong team that returns five starters.
9. Corona del Sol: Young but extremely athletic, may become a team no one wants to face in the postseason.
10. Mountain Pointe: The post-Fred Mann era begins with five returning starters.
1. Ironwood Ridge — Determined to reach the state title match with six returning starters.
2. Sunnyslope — Back in the title contention mix with a team that welcomes back seven key players.
3. Rincon — Experienced team with five returning starters that did well in Division I moves down to Division II.
4. Tucson — Also moved down from Division I, Tucson has size and power.
5. Queen Creek — Jasmine Hanna can lead this team to at least the semifinals.
6. Ironwood — Four starters return from state quarterfinalist and one of the top teams in 2012.
7. Cienega — Junior setter Mckenzie Mott will lead a team that welcomes back three other returning starters.
8. Deer Valley — Athletic and strong defensively, Deer Valley returns four starters.
9. Campo Verde — Moves up to Division II and brings back three of its top four hitters.
10. Notre Dame Prep — Graduated a lot of talent and has a new coach but it has enough experience to do well again.
1. Flagstaff — 2010 Division II champion comes down to Division III. Could extend its 43-match winning streak for as top hitters Randi Powers and Courtney Leffel return.
2. Safford — Jordan Abalos returns. Dun. Dun Duuuuunnnn.
3. Seton Catholic — 2012 state semifinalist returns its top two hitters and three of its top four.
4. Monument Valley — Semifinalist has six returning starters and a coaching staff who all graduated from Monument Valley and played for legendary coach Lucinda Nash.
5. Cactus — Welcomes a new coach but also seven key players from last season’s 22-win team, including junior Kennedie Henige.
6. Florence — Six starters return, all strong and quick. Could be even better than a top 5 team.
7. Tuba City — Graduated three of its top stars from last season’s state title-winning team, but enough experience comes back with four returning starters.
8. Blue Ridge — Not a tall team by any means but experience and quickness from five returning starters will be enough to keep it in the hunt.
9. Mingus — Angel Chavez is again expected to lead 2012 state quarterfinalist.
10. Thunderbird — Also has a new coach but its top two hitters return from last season’s 21-win team.
1. Veritas Prep: Dominated Division V. Now moves up a division. But it has Loyola Marymount-bound Sarah Sponcil and no one else does.
2. Northwest Christian: 2012 state runner-up is looking to return to the top with six returning starters led by UNLV-bound senior Alexis Patterson.
3. Scottsdale Christian: The Sierra Bauder Show is back. And Chloe DeAngelis will give teams something else to think about.
4. Thatcher: Brooklyn Scarborough is back, but Thatcher needs to find a solid No. 2 hitter.
5. Valley Christian: Will find it tough without graduated star Lindy Dyer, but Ashley Harrison could have what it takes to be a dangerous first option.
6. Parker: Marie Maya always has a solid team that competes well.
7. Tempe Prep: Graduated five starters but not 2012 first-team All-State selection Kaitlin Shroll.
8. Sedona Red Rock: McKenna Woodford is now at Hamilton; defending champions will find it hard to replace her power and talent.
9. Chandler Prep: Most of last season’s solid team returns. Schedule shouldn’t be as tough as last season’s.
10. Horizon Honors: Experience returns for a team looking to get back into the state tournament.
1. Valley Lutheran: With Veritas Prep now in Division IV, Valley Lutheran may reign again with its power in the middle.
2. Joy Christian: This is now junior Tristan Cantrell’s team.
3. Arizona Lutheran: Ruth Buchholz is just a sophomore. Three more years to terrorize other teams.
4. Joseph City: Lost some good talent but last season’s semifinalist should still be able to contend.
5. St. David: Experience returns for 2012 quarterfinalist.
2013 Players to Watch
Name Position Year School
Jordan Abalos, OH, Sr., Safford
Summer Avery, OH, Sr., Tucson
Tess Clark, MB, Sr., Horizon
Lauren Conati, S, Sr., Horizon
Gabrielle Contreras, L, Jr., Horizon
Jensen Cunningham, MB, Sr., Horizon
Brooke Curleyhair, MB/OH, Sr., Monument Valley
Kenzie DeVries, OH, So., Florence
Jasmine Hanna, OH, Sr., Queen Creek
Kennedie Henige, OH/MB, Sr., Cactus
Amy Hollowell, OH, Sr., Ironwood
Jesse Hover, OH, Sr., Sandra Day O’Connor
Aunesty Jantz, OH, Jr., Ironwood Ridge
Heather Johnson, OH, Sr., Blue Ridge
Kahlia Lanier, OH, So., Xavier Prep
Hailey Leffel, L, Sr., Flagstaff
Madeline Mertz, MB, Sr., Centennial
Sierra Nobley, OH, Sr., Horizon
Alexis Patterson, S/OH/MB, Sr., Northwest Christian
Randi Powers, OH, Sr., Flagstaff
Taylor Reiter, MB, Sr., Rincon
Mia Sokolowski, OH, So., Tucson
Justine Spann, OH/L, So., Basha
Sarah Sponcil, S, Sr., Veritas Prep
Mia Teilborg, OH, Sr. Xavier Prep
Reggie Van Devender, OH, Jr., Seton Catholic
Vanessa Wesley, MB, Sr., Desert Vista
Dani Westfall, OH/S, Sr., Xavier Prep
McKenna Woodford, OH, Jr., Hamilton
Kamia Yazzie, S, Sr., Tuba City