#16 Highland VB sweeps #17 Boulder Creek

November 2, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Highland setter Maya Bhakta readies the attack for the Hawks in their three-set, play-in triumph over Boulder Creek. (Azpreps365 photo)

Serving was a focal point for #16 Highland as it prepared for Tuesday night's 6A play-in match against #17 Boulder Creek.

The Hawks set out to served well and did just that in taking down the visiting Jaguars in three sets - 25-12, 25-23 and 25-18.

"I thought our serving pressure was outstanding," Highland coach Tait Neilson said. "We knew where we wanted to go with our serves."

All the higher-seeded teams in 6A won their matches Tuesday meaning Highland will visit the #1 seed in the round of 16 on Thursday. The brackets and seedings for all conferences will be revealed via the live bracket show Wednesday at 11 a.m. on Azpreps365. 

Highland's ace mentality was keen in the blow-out opening set. The Hawks served up eight aces with six of those coming in its final 15 points. 

A set-low three aces for the evening came in the second set. Highland closed out the set with an ace - a serve as good and tough as it gets.

Junior Jaiedyn Rankin fired it on a line just over the net and toward the boundary. It likely would have been good if left alone so Boulder Creek had to try for the return that tried and failed.

Highland revved it up the service engine again late in the third set producing all five of its aces in its final 10 points. Three of those were by setter Maya Bhakta helping stretch a four-point lead to eight (18-10). Boulder Creek got no closer than five. Jea Genet finished the match with and ace for the Hawks.

"At this point in the season we expect to serve well, even in the late moments," Neilson said. 

It was a balanced night on the attack for Highland. Marilynn Jewel Carling led with nine kills and Sadie Plewe and Claire Pothier collected eight apiece. Boulder Creek was led by Iana Lloera with eight kills, Ava Geyer with six and Bria Carlisle with four.





No. 17 Boulder Creek (6-11) vs. #16 Highland (8-9)