Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer,

Cortez pulls volleyball upset of Paradise Valley

November 2, 2010 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365

By Don Ketchum
If the remainder of the Class 4A Division II state volleyball tournament goes the way that the Phoenix-Cortez-Phoenix Paradise Valley first-round match did on Tuesday night (Nov. 2), fans will be sitting on the edge of their seats and chewing their fingernails to the bone
There was plenty of excitement and back-and-forth play.
No. 11 seed Cortez got the jump on host PV by winning the first two games before the sixth-seeded Trojans came back to win two and send it into the decisive fifth game. Paradise Valley twice rallied from deficits to tie it, then saw Cortez walk away with a 15-13 upset.
Cortez, which lost twice to Black Canyon Region rival Paradise Valley during the regular season, now advances to the quarterfinals on Thursday night (Nov. 4). Cortez will travel to face third-seeded Phoenix Arcadia, which recorded a three-game sweep of visiting 14th-seeded Buckeye on Tuesday night.
Cortez coach Jennifer Wright acknowledged that it is probably difficult for a team to beat another three times during the same season.
“We had played them twice, so we knew what to expect,’’ she said.
That said, Cortez still had to be a little surprised to have a 2-0 lead.
Paradise Valley took a 25-18 win in the third game and was even more decisive in a 25-14 triumph in the fourth game. All the momentum was with the Trojans as their fans loudly exchanged cheers with the large Cortez contingent most of the night.
But Cortez maintained its composure and won the final two points on kills by Sarah Lozano, the last one into the far back corner.
“She’s been doing that all year, but we don’t have one star player. We have a team of players,’’ Wright said.
The coach admitted her team got a bit complacent with the 2-0 lead.
“I told them they came here to do a job, but they didn’t do it in the third and fourth games,’’ Wright said. “They did a great job maintaining their composure.’’
She also acknowledged the boisterous group of fans.
“We have had good fans all season,’’ she said.