Natalie Lopez
ASU Student Journalist

Liberty comes up short against Corona del Sol

September 28, 2023 by Natalie Lopez, Arizona State University

The Liberty Lions take a timeout during the third set against the Corona del Sol Aztecs on Wednesday. (Natalie Lopez photo/AZPreps365)

Natalie Lopez is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Liberty High School for

It was a frustrating night for the Liberty Lions as they fell to the Corona del Sol Aztecs in three straight sets on Wednesday.

The Lions (7-3) were outscored 23-25, 23-25, and 18-25 by the Aztecs (9-2). 

Both teams were neck and neck in the first set, each team trading points.  Freshman Lauren Forelli had four kills and senior Ellie Trimble had three kills for the Lions. But they ultimately came up short to the Aztecs’ defense, which had several blocks. Corona del Sol took the first set, 25-23. 

Though not shown in the result of the set, Liberty coach Chris Brown said he saw improvement in areas he thought needed adjustments in the Lions’ previous match.  

“I thought we passed very well and offensively, (we were) more efficient than yesterday,” Brown said. “Each day we’re progressing with a different aspect, like our serving.” 

The second set was much like the first set, each team scoring right after one another. The Aztecs went on a 6-0 run which caused Brown to call a timeout. Liberty fought back, with Forelli having four more kills. The Aztecs, however, came back on top with sophomore Hayden Conner having five kills and two blocks. Corona del Sol won the second set, 25-23. 

Conner said she attributed their success to the momentum and energy they had all night. 

“We made sure we communicated on and off the floor,” Conner said. “That's really important, especially with the hitter and setter connection. 

That communication was evident in the third set with the Aztecs continuing to dominate the Lions. Liberty junior Tristen Raymond started off the set with two kills. 

Their momentum seemed to change, however, when senior Alyssa Forelli had what seemed to be a shoulder injury after trying to go for the ball. Forelli was in obvious pain so Brown and the trainers brought her to the bench. Senior Hailee Peters came into the game to replace Forelli. 

The Lions defense tried to keep up with the Aztecs’ offense, but they continued to dominate. Conner had a few more kills during that set to assist Corona del Sol with the win, 25-18. 

Conner ended the night with nine kills and two blocks. Seniors Alyssa Aguayo and Maggie Beauer also had a big night, combining for 19 kills and three hits. 

Corona del Sol coach Ben Maxfield explained how much of a difference Conner and Beauer made to help them get the win. 

“(Beauer) is always good for us defensively, and those last five points she was just a beast,” Maxfield said. “And this is only (Conner’s) second match with us, so being able to find her and use her as a weapon is huge. I think she’ll score us a lot of points (in the future).” 

Liberty will host Sandra Day O’Connor (9-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m. Corona del Sol will host Queen Creek (9-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m.