YUMA, Ariz. – The Arizona Western volleyball team slammed home aces to close out three sets in a four-set win over Phoenix College on Friday night. The Lady Mats (11-7 overall, 3-3 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) beat the Bears 25-15, 25-12, 16-25 and 26-24.
Arizona Western’s Ke’ila Williams finished the match with a wicked serve to the left side in a gritty, tight fourth set. Neither team led by more than four points, and both sides had chances to win it.
With AWC up 19-15, Phoenix (8-6 overall, 3-5 ACCAC) slowly closed the gap and tied the set at 22. Phoenix’s Isabelle Valdez served an ace for a one point lead, but then she served it wide to send it back to AWC all tied at 23.
AWC went up 24-23 when Phoenix hit the antenna on an attack, but Valdez killed it to tie things back up. Mafe Sandoval hammered it down for a huge kill and a 25-24 lead one point later, and Williams finished it with an ace after Phoenix couldn’t pass her serve back. Sandoval had a massive night with 19 kills and a 0.459 hitting percentage while adding 15 digs.
In the first set, Sandoval powered the Mats to a monster lead, and Williams put the cherry on top with an ace to finish it. Sandoval crushed eight kills in the opening set and was completely unstoppable. AWC never trailed while winning 25-15.
Arizona Western took control early in the second set and never let up. With the score tied at four, AWC went on a 7-1 run powered by three aces (two by Rebekah Eaves and one by Yenny Montoya Murillo). The Lady Mats never looked back, and Montoya Murillo served an ace to finish the set 25-12.
In the third set, the two sides were locked together early and were tied 6-6. All of the sudden, Phoenix got hot from the service line and on the attack, and the Lady Mats were on the wrong end of a 14-3 run as they trailed 20-9. The Bears stayed on the gas pedal enough to close out the set 25-16.
Haylee Paladini finished with 10 kills and a 0.304 hitting percentage for AWC. Neyshlian Roman Concepcion led the team with 37 digs.
The Lady Mats head to Eastern Arizona College next Wednesday. First serve is scheduled for 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. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.