YUMA, Ariz. – Friday night, ‘The House’ was rocking at Arizona Western College when the Lady Mats hosted Eastern Arizona in an important conference clash. AWC came up on the wrong side of the scoreboard though as EAC won in four sets, 25-18, 26-28, 25-19 and 25-23.
In the first set, the match was neck-and-neck through the first two-thirds of the set. The two teams never were able to pull away or score more than a few points in a row. Down 17-14, the Lady Mats (9-7 overall, 1-3 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) rattled off three straight to tie things at 17 when Haylee Paladini had back-to-back kills. Paladini had seven kills on the night.
Eastern Arizona (14-6 overall, 2-2 ACCAC) managed to get the side out and reeled off an 8-1 run that sealed that set 25-18.
The second set was even tighter throughout the entire set. Eastern led 12-8, but a big block by the Lady Mats started a quick four point spurt. Mafe Sandoval capped the run by stuffing down an overpass from Eastern Arizona to tie the set at 12. Sandoval finished with nine kills and 12 digs.
Every time it seemed like Eastern would start to pull away, the Lady Mats had an answer in the set. Finally, the Lady Mats tied things up at 18 and then scored three straight to take a 21-18 lead on a Yolain Mosquera Lopez kill during a scramble.
Eastern rallied though, and the match went to overtime. The Lady Mats finally won the set 28-26 when Eastern tipped the ball into the net.
The third set followed the theme of the match and was tight throughout the majority of the set. The score was locked at 18-18, and then Eastern Arizona went on a 7-1 spurt to close it out and take the set 25-19.
The Lady Mats got into groove in the middle of the fourth set to erase a three-point hole. Down 11-8, Arizona Western ripped off a 9-0 run. Rebekah Eaves served a pair of aces, and the Lady Mats stormed out to a 17-11 lead. Yenny Montoya Murillo hit the ball hard during that stretch, and the Lady Matador block was on point. Montoya Murillo led AWC with 16 kills and added four blocks. AWC finished with 20 blocks as a team.
Eastern Arizona scrapped back into things and eventually retook the lead with a 6-0 run that made it 20-19. The two sides battled back and forth, with Eastern staying one point ahead. With EAC up 23-21, the chair official overruled the line judge and called a ball in for the Gila Monsters that set up match point, 24-21. The Lady Mats scored two points, but Eastern snagged the win 25-23 a few points later.
Neyshlian Roman Concepcion led the Lady Mats with 31 digs.
AWC heads out to South Mountain Community College on Wednesday, September 27. First serve is set 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.