YUMA, Ariz. – Yenny Montoya Murillo impacted every phase of Arizona Western College’s (17-5 overall, 9-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) volleyball match on Wednesday night. She led the team with 16 kills and four aces to go with seven digs as AWC topped Eastern Arizona (15-9 overall, 6-4 ACCAC) in four sets, 25-20, 25-17, 11-25, 25-16. The win keeps AWC on top of the conference and in line for the Region I first seed with three matches left.
Montoya Murillo scored three quick kills in the first set to help AWC take an early 5-4 lead. The set stayed tight until Melissa Garciglia Banuelos boomed down a kill and followed it with an ace to start a quick four point spurt that ended with a 13-8 lead and an Eastern Arizona timeout.
EAC scored out of the timeout, but Montoya Murillo killed any hope of an Eastern rally by tooling a block to score a point, and Lauolive Tonga crushed an ace. Haylee Paladini and Lisbeth Rosario Martinez whacked kills to put AWC up 18-9. Paladini had seven kills and Rosario Martinez had eight in the match.
The Gila Monsters cut the lead to four but could get no closer the rest of the way, and AWC won the set on a missed serve by EAC’s Kayla Kahauolopua.
In the second set, Eastern jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. Tonga ended the run with a kill out of the middle, and AWC started to work back into the match. Montoya Murillo had back-to-back kills to cut EAC’s lead to 6-5. The Lady Mats finally tied it up and took the lead on back-to-back errors by EAC that made it 10-9.
Montoya Murillo served up an ace, and Rosario Martinez blasted a kill down the middle to put AWC up 12-9, and the Lady Mats never trailed from that point on. Near the end of the set, Montoya Murillo had two aces sandwiched around a Garciglia Banuelos kill to put AWC up 24-17, and EAC’s Harley Cummard hit it out for the final point.
In the third set, Eastern Arizona jumped all over Arizona Western. The Gila Monsters took an 8-3 lead to force an early AWC timeout. Montoya Murillo killed one after the timeout, but then Eastern ripped off a 10-2 spurt that shoved the lead to 18-6. The two sides traded points through the rest of the set.
Arizona Western shook it off early in the fourth set. EAC jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but a Paladini kill and a Jovana Papaz ace quickly tied the set. The two sides traded points back and forth.
Finally, AWC broke the stalemate. An Eastern hitting error put AWC up 14-13, and Montoay Murillo hit her fourth ace of the night. A big block and a Papaz kill gave AWC a 17-13 lead, and Eastern called timeout.
The teams flip-flopped points out of the timeout, and a string of three straight Eastern hitting errors pushed the AWC lead to 21-15.
Eastern cut it to 21-16 one point later before Papaz powered a kill through the EAC block, and she then served out the match. Two aces by Papaz and a double block by Tonga and Paladini ended it 25-16. All three of Papaz’s aces came in the fourth set.
Neyshlian Roman Concepcion led the AWC defense with 24 digs, and Teuila Lolotai added 21 assists and 18 digs.
The Lady Mats are on the road at Yavapai on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
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.