Alyssa Buruato
ASU Student Journalist

Cicero Prep wins back-to-back 1A region titles

October 21, 2023 by Alyssa Buruato, Arizona State University

Junior Sam Atwood goes up for the tip against Lincoln. (Photo by Alyssa Buruato/AZpreps365)

Alyssa Buruato is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Cicero Prep for


The Cicero Prep Centurions girls’ volleyball team is a region champion for the second consecutive year after sweeping the Lincoln Prep Lightning on Friday night on the road.

It comes after the Lady Centurions won their first region title in the 1A division last season going 6-0 in their region.

“It feels incredible from where we were before I took over the program to where we are now,” coach Kirsten Frey said. “The girls have worked their butts off and it shows.”

History repeated itself on Friday, given Lincoln Prep fell to Cicero twice a season ago while taking the runners-up spot last year. Cicero handed Lincon back-to-back losses, sweeping them 3-0 both times.

On Friday, Cicero handed the defeat on Lincoln’s Senior Night, 25-10, 25-5, 25-11, winning in convincing fashion. Cicero moved its win streak to six and its overall record to 19-6.

Cicero’s first point set the tone for the night as senior Tamara Mekoba hit an ace, getting the confidence it needed to start the match propelling it for the rout.

Cicero ended the first game up, 25-10.

Lincoln started stronger in the second game, but was quickly stopped. Cicero easily won the second game, 25-5.

In the third game, Tamara Mekoba started with three aces and an assist to Nicole Damian. Cicero’s offense held strong with multiple over-pass kills forcing Lincoln to use both of their timeouts. Cicero got four kills and two blocks, with most of its points coming from Lincoln’s mistake. The set ended on a Damian block, 25-11.

Mekoba hit a major milestone of 1,000 career assists.

“I just tell myself it's more about the team rather than myself and if I’m off the whole team will be off, so I just try to stay level-headed,” Mekoba said when asked how she consistently plays well.

She added: “My sophomore year I didn’t play very much (and) that only motivated me to play harder and be the best player that I can be. Now, I'm here senior year playing full time and I just put in a lot of work.”

The Lady Centurions are looking to win a state title this year and libero Halle Hwang knows exactly how they will do it.

“Our team chemistry is everything, without that, we’d be nowhere,” she said. “I play for
my teammates and as lib, I have to keep my back row in check, but they make it easy.” Everyone who is playing wants to be there and works just as hard as everyone else.”

The Lady Centurions are set to play Northland Prep Academy at home on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. for their last regular season game.