Aces, Aces, Aces

YUMA, Ariz. – Jovana Papaz and Lauolive Tonga racked up the aces on Saturday afternoon. The two combined for 11 aces as the 20th ranked Arizona Western College volleyball team (16-5 overall, 8-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) won in straight sets (25-18, 25-20, 25-13) over Pima Community College (11-11 overall, 4-6 ACCAC). The 11 aces tied a season high.

The first set was back and forth early as the two teams started a little slow. With AWC up 12-9, Papaz swatted two aces to force a Pima timeout.

Pima scored two quick points after the timeout, and the two sides went back and forth. With AWC up 17-14, Kiara Erving hit a cross-court winner that helped Arizona Western begin to pull away. Erving led AWC with nine kills. After a couple Pima mistakes, the AWC lead grew to 21-14. The Lady Mats kept the lead there to win the set 25-18.

In the second set, things were close early and often. Papaz had a kill and an ace for an 8-5 lead, but Pima bounced back and cut the lead back to one two points later.

It was tied up at 12-12 and 13-13, but PCC’s Madi Nash and Kaitlin Schmich had back-to-back errors. AWC took advantage and kept the lead for the rest of the set. Papaz, fittingly, ended the set with an ace at 25-20.

The third set was all Arizona Western. Pima led 2-0 before a hitting error by Mackenzie Welch gave it back to AWC. Papaz smashed two aces to start a 9-0 run that Melissa Garciglia Banuelos capped with a big kill for a 9-2 lead.

Pima managed a side out, but Haylee Paladini snuffed out any hope of a rally with a kill of her own. She had seven kills in the match. AWC went on a mini-run, and Tonga hit an ace to force a Pima timeout with AWC leading 13-4.

The lead hovered around 10 for the rest of the set until Tonga went back to the service line again. With AWC up 22-13, Tonga delivered three straight aces to close out the match 25-13.

Both Tonga (five aces) and Papaz (six aces) set their season highs in the match. Papaz added five kills and five digs.

AWC is back home on Wednesday night to host Eastern Arizona College. The match begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors/military. Kids 12 and under and AWC students/staff get in for FREE!

Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma.


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