By Greg Perkins
The Lady Wildcats of Joseph City are heading to the state volleyball tournament on the heels of six straight victories with doubleheader wins over Cibecue and St. Michaels sandwiched between wins over Holbrook and Northland Prep.
Hosting Holbrook back on Oct. 16, the Lady Wildcats turned away their neighbors in three straight games, 25-21, 25-16 and 25-22.
The following day Joseph City made the long trek to Cibecue, where, despite not being completely focused early, they won the first match of the twin bill in three games, 25-14, 25-8 and 25-21. The Lady Cats went on to win the second match, too, overpowering an outmatched Cibecue team 25-12, 25-8 and 25-4.
Last Tuesday the Lady Cats hosted an improved St. Michaels team in another double-header contest, winning the first match 25-19, 25-20 and 25-20. Prior to the second match they honored sen-ior players Lexi Edwards, Sierra Johnstun, Britney Smith and Payton Tanner. With those seniors, joined by Kristin and Brooke Baldwin, the Lady Cats won the first game 25-8, took the second 25-17 and closed out the match by winning the third game 25-21.
“It was neat to see the senior girls play together. They are a great group of girls and have worked real hard this year,” said Coach Kent Baldwin.
Last Thursday Joseph City closed out the regular season by hosting a very good Northland Prep team. The Lady Cats had faced them earlier in the season at the Payson tournament and with both teams vying for play-off positioning, the match promised to be a good one. The Lady Spartans took advantage of some good serves to win the first game 25-19. Joseph City turned the tables in the second game, winning it by the same score, 25-19. A hard fought back and forth third game went to the Lady Wildcats by a score of 25-22. Needing to win the fourth game to survive, Northland Prep rallied to send the match to a fifth game with a 25-15 win. Both teams played well in the final game before Joseph City eventually prevailed 15-12 to win the match.
“It was an absolutely exciting and exhausting game. The fans were loud and crazy. There was great volleyball on both sides of the court. Northland served really hard and we had problems with our passing game. But our girls never gave up and played with a lot of intensity and were able to achieve a great win,” added Coach Baldwin.
Joseph City finished the season with an overall record of 15-1 and heads to the state tournament as the seventh seed. The Lady Cats will host 10th ranked Ft. Thomas at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, in the opening round match at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. If they get past the first round, they will face either No. 2 Joy Christian or No. 15 Mogollon in round two at 6 p.m. on Friday. A win there would put them in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
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By Greg Perkins