On their second day-trip to Savannah in less than a week, Sonoraville was eliminated from the Class AAA State Tournament.
The defeat came to Region 2-AAA No. 1 seed and ninth-ranked Savannah Arts Academy. The Phoenix (19-26) got off to a very slow start, dropping the first two sets 7-25, and 15-25. After the break, Sonoraville stormed back with a 25-18 win in the third set, but then let a five-point lead in the fourth set evaporate before falling 21-25 to the Lady Panthers (25-9) to end the match.
“We had a difficult time adapting to a very unique environment, as well as their strong serving game,” said Sonoraville head coach Trace Vaughn. “I knew it would take some adjustment with the size and dim lighting, but it took longer than I expected. To their fans credit, they took advantage of the acoustics in their tiny gym and made it very difficult for me to communicate adjustments to my players, as well as for the players to communicate with one another. We tweaked the rotation a bit and played perhaps our best set of the season in the third. We had a good lead in the fourth, but they have one server who was eating us up, and she came around it an unfortunate time for us, and we just didn’t make the passes when we needed.
“We finished the season just like we started…fighting tooth and nail. I am very proud of how this team never gave up on themselves this season. We had a long drought early in the season, but we weathered the storm and kept fighting all the way. It is great to know we have this much talent and no seniors. I am already looking forward to next season.”
Making an impact on the stat sheet was: Kinsey Wilson with 12 digs, two aces and one assist, Skylar Huskins two kills, two digs and one assist, Hannah Wehunt with four digs and two aces on 8-of-8 serving, Anissa Hales with seven digs and one ace, Alea Johnson with 18 assists, Sam Lewis with one kill and one dig, Bree Steely with 14 digs, seven kills, two aces and one block, Abby Chamber with six kills, two blocks and two aces on 11-of-11 serving, Alexis Lincoln with one kill and one dig, Raleigh Hooper with two kills and 2.5 blocks, and Annelies Carr with two blocks.
The loss puts an end to Sonoraville’s 10th consecutive State Tournament appearance, and marks the first time since 2011, and during Vaughn’s tenure as head coach, they were unable to reach the Elite Eight or beyond. They will return their entire rotation next season as they have no seniors on the roster.