Kambell Schmidt
ASU Student Journalist

Horizon Honors swept at "Spiketown" Invitational Tournament

October 1, 2021 by Kambell Schmidt, Arizona State University

Horizon Honors lines up prior to its first match of the tournament. (Kambell Schmidt/AZPreps365)

Kambell Schmidt is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Central High School for AZPreps365.com

GILBERT-- Horizon Honors had an unfortunate day as the Eagles dropped all three of their matches, 2-0, 2-0, 2-1, at the "Spiketown" Invitational Friday afternoon.

The event was held at American Leadership Academy, where 12 teams from smaller division schools competed in matches throughout the day.

The first match of the day featured the hosts, No. seven-ranked (3A) American Leadership Academy,  versus No. 13 (2A) Horizon Honors. 

While both teams mascots are an"Eagle," only one team soared away with the victory.

Eager to start the battle as the match started 15 minutes late, ALA senior Breanna Billyard's serve was not answered, giving the hosts an early 1-0 lead. 

The first set was a close one, each school retaliating each other's points, until HH's unforced errors helped ALA surge ahead, 19-9. Horizon Honors would draw closer with numerous successful serves, but ultimately AIA was victorious.

The second set was not as close. Horizon Honors could not seem to control its mistakes as serves hit the net and balls were passed out of bounds.

ALA won the second set 25-10, giving the hosts 2-0 match triumph.

There was little time between matches. Horizon Honors' next foe was the top-ranked (3A) Snowflake Lobos. 

Horizon Honors made the first set a competitive one as freshman Jill Thompson gave the Eagles an early 5-3 lead after an assist from freshman outside hitter Addyson Gauer.

"Playing in a tournament takes a lot more hard work and determination and we just have to keep the energy longer than during just a game," said freshman Jill Thompson

The Eagles tried to claw their way back, but the Lobos ended up taking the first set 25-17.Senior Caitlyn Nichols prepares to serve. (Kambell Schmidt/AZPreps365)

In the second set Snowflake capitalized on a flurry of aces and spikes, as well as Horizon Honors' unforced errors. The top-ranked squad from eastern Arizona captured the second set, 25-18, and the match, 2-0.

"My teammates and coaches help me stay positive and motivated to keep on pushing" said Thompson.

After a one-hour break, Horizon Honors returned for its final match of the day against No. 13 (4A) Youngker High School. The Roughriders breezed through the first set with a 25-11 win versus an Eagles squad that appeared out of gas.

In the second set a rejuvenated Eagles looked determined to not exit this tournament without taking at least one set win. This set was Horizon Honors' best of the day. Despite falling behind quickly, a couple of Youngker errors and a crisp spike by junior Aubrey Harbertson gave the Eagles the lead.

The Roughriders would not go down with a fight as they tied up the score 24-24.

The Eagles played with energy and purpose, as the school's fans stomped on bleachers and cheered mightily. A faulty serve by Youngker knotted the score at 25-25.

Gauer ended up giving the Eagles the set win, 29-27, after a couple of fierce serves. Gauer's older sister Allyssa is a junior setter for the Eagles.

Going into the tie-breaker set, the slightly higher-ranked Youngker quickly gained 13-5 lead.

An out-of-bounds serve by junior Meghan Tuzzolino gave Youngker the set, 15-6, and the match win, 2-1.

Although Horizon Honors results didn't turn out the way they wanted, coach Kristoffer Maglunog still wanted his team to remember the important things.

"Our goal today wasn't really about winning or losing," said Maglunog. "We're in a pool with the top 3A and 4A teams and we're just a small 2A school with a goal of trying to have fun."

The Eagles will next take on Veritas Prep October 12 on their home court.