Jackson Shaw
ASU Student Journalist

Paradise Valley loses to Willow Canyon

October 20, 2023 by Jackson Shaw, Arizona State University

The Trojans wore pink to support for breast cancer awareness in their match against Willow Canyon. [Jackson Shaw photo/AZPreps365]

Jackson Shaw is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Paradise Valley High School for AZPreps365.com

 PHOENIX– The Paradise Valley volleyball team lost a nail-biter to the visiting Willow Canyon Wildcats Wednesday night in Phoenix.

The Trojans (6-14) and Wildcats (12-13) faced off twice this season, with each match ending in the fifth set with Willow Canyon on top, and this time was no different.

Entering the first set, the Wildcats were locked in. Freshman Shia Chancellor landed a couple of hits in the Paradise Valley back row and early on had the Willow Canyon bench chanting, “She’s a freshman!”

Midway through the set, the Wildcats led 16-7 until Paradise Valley senior Amanda Plisko scored on three consecutive aces and sophomore Julia Yoder connected on both a block and a kill.

The momentum continued to sway toward Paradise Valley when senior setter Tatum Berrington entered the game and the Trojans’ bench erupted. Berrington suffered a knee injury early in the season and just recently worked her way back into the lineup. 

“It was tough sitting on the bench for how long I did, but I’m glad that I’m mostly recovered and that I can help my team win,” Berrington said. 

The duo of Berrington and Plisko had an immediate impact on this match as Berrington set a beautiful ball to Plisko, who hammered it down on the Wildcats’ side of the net to take the lead 20-19.

Unfortunately for the Trojans, a Willow Canyon block closed out this hard-fought set 28-26.

Paradise Valley responded in the second set, which began with junior Ellie Vischer connecting on two of her three total blocks early in the set. Plisko landed an impressive hit from deep in the back row to give the lead back to the Trojans. 

Neither team could pull ahead, as the score stayed within two for the entirety of the second set. But it was none other than Plisko who received a huge hit down the left sideline from Chancellor and gave the Trojans late momentum that carried them to a 25-21 victory and evened the match at one set a piece. 

“I just try to focus really hard and take in the inner motivation to actually win because I’m so sick of losing,” Plisko said. 

Senior Lauren Patentreger was the defenisve star for the Trojans in the third set. She racked up three blocks and along with some offensive help from junior Rylee Mogalian, Paradise Valley took care of the Wildcats 25-22 to go up two sets to one. However, Willow Canyon retaliated in the fourth set. Powerhouse hitter Chyler Martin rained down kills on the Trojans’ back row and led the Wildcats to a commanding 17-6 start. Patentreger and Plisko eventually found their groove and responded with a 10-2 Trojans run. But Martin’s dominant hitting got the best of Paradise Valley and the Wildcats forced a fifth set. 

Martin’s swing continued to frustrate the Trojans in the fifth set. Despite the efforts from Paradise Valley’s front line, the Trojans struggled to keep the ball off their side of the floor. They gave it their all until the final whistle blew and the scoreboard read 15-12 in favor of the visitors. 

With four games left in the season, head coach Jessica Spencer said the Trojans will focus on “cleaning it up [and] fighting throughout the whole game.”