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1:37 AM Fri, Dec. 14th

Prep Volleyball: Lady Vols make program history with fourth region win

Natalie Sanchez, left, and the Lady Vols swept the season series with Mohave Tuesday night. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

Natalie Sanchez, left, and the Lady Vols swept the season series with Mohave Tuesday night. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – The Lee Williams High School volleyball team may only be in its third season in the 4A Grand Canyon Region, but the Lady Vols accomplished something they had never been done Tuesday night. Lee Williams tallied its fourth region victory – the most in program history – with a hard-fought five-set win (25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 22-25, 16-14) over No. 37 ranked Mohave.

But Natalie Sanchez and the Lady Vols were focused on how well they rose to the occasion when it mattered the most.

“It’s so exciting to come back as a team,” Sanchez said. “Working as a team helps us so much. We wouldn’t be where we are without being a team.”

No. 24 ranked Lee Williams (6-5, 4-4 4A Grand Canyon Region) had to show its team grit in what turned out to be a back-and-forth battle. The Lady Vols were on the verge of a sweep, but the 36th-ranked Lady T-birds rallied back to force a winner-take-all fifth set.

That’s when it got exciting.

Both squads continued to find a way to stay alive and it showed in a fifth set that featured six ties. Mohave appeared to be in the driver seat with a 14-13 advantage and match point, but Lee Williams dug deep and scored three straight points for the victory.

“We needed this win,” said Lady Vols head coach Riley Blake. “We need some of that momentum back because we had it before and we kind of lost it. But now we’re getting it back and it feels awesome.”

Lee Williams almost didn’t get that momentum back after watching a commanding 2-0 lead disappear. The Lady Vols started out the third set facing a big hole at 7-3, but battled back to tie it 8-8. Unfortunately, that was as close as it would get as Mohave moved out to an 18-11 advantage it would never surrender.

“Absolutely it would have been nice to finish them off in three,” Blake said. “But that’s not how volleyball always works, unfortunately.”

Lee Williams still could have put the third set behind it and won in four, but a 17-13 lead quickly turned into a 21-21 tie to force a Lady Vols timeout. Lee Williams would respond after the break with a point, but Mohave scored the next four points to force the fifth and deciding set.

The Lady Vols are back in action at 6 p.m. Thursday on the road at No. 20 ranked Coconino (4-6, 2-3).

“I think this could be a game changer, for sure,” Blake said. “We work better when we have that momentum – any team does. If we can keep it and keep it going, I can absolutely see us going up from here.”