Kingman Academy shocks Bulldogs in volleyball thriller

Academy’s Shaunti Short plays a set from deep in the back row with Kiersten Kinsey ready to react. Short had 30 assists in the Lady Tigers’ win over Kingman Tuesday. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

Academy’s Shaunti Short plays a set from deep in the back row with Kiersten Kinsey ready to react. Short had 30 assists in the Lady Tigers’ win over Kingman Tuesday. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - Crown her Lady Clutch.

Kingman Academy's Aspen Jackson nailed 14 kills - including the game winners in sets two, four and five - as the Lady Tigers upset Kingman Tuesday in front of a loud and boisterous crowd at KHS.

"Aspen is just consistent," said KAHS volleyball coach Ken David. "I'm trying to teach consistency through the whole team. I want everybody who plays here to be consistent."

Sophomore setter Shaunti Short finished with 30 assists, and she has confidence in the 5-8 sophomore outside hitter Jackson when games are on the line.

"It's one of the best feelings ever," Short said. "I trust her 100 percent to crush the ball every time. It's the best way to end a game."

Academy (1-4 Division IV) prevailed 3-2, winning the match 13-25, 25-21, 13-25, 25-22, 15-10. Kingman (0-3 D-III) appeared to be the more consistent team through the first three games. The Lady Bulldogs won Games 1 and 3 by 12 points, but gave up a late 18-15 lead in Game 2 that the Academy won. Kingman looked ready to take the match in Game 3 when they dominated the net offensively and defensively and built a 20-10 lead en route to moving ahead, 2-1.

"I mean, we played strong," said KHS volleyball coach Danielle Walker. "At the end, it was missing serves and defensive errors that caught up to us."

Desirae Gonzalez led Kingman with 14 kills, eight digs, seven blocks and four aces. Kim Carroll added nine kills and five blocks, Aurora Camacho had seven kills and six digs, Sydney Stephens recorded eight digs, and Casey Wurm and Cortney Mossor each had six digs.

Academy busted out of the gates in Game 4 and went way out in front, 16-9. But Kingman's resilience showed itself, and the Lady Bulldogs got the lead down to two twice - at 23-21 and 24-22. However, Jackson slammed a kill to seal the Game 4 win for the Lady Tigers.

In the final set it came down to errors. Kingman handed the Lady Tigers seven points on unforced errors, whereas the Academy returned the favor just twice. Jackson ended the game and match with two kills to complete the comeback for the Lady Tigers.

Libero Stephanie Scott recorded 19 digs for the Academy, and Reagan Haynes had four service aces.

"It was fun, and it's great to get that first 'W,'" David said. "One thing I'm really happy about is that no one ever quit. When we were down, we stayed positive and confident. Hopefully, we'll be able to ride this momentum."

Academy has a week to prepare for Mohave (6-1 D-IV) at 6 p.m. next Tuesday at KAHS. Kingman tries for its first win against Northland Prep (3-0 D-III) at 6 p.m. tonight in Flagstaff.