YUMA, Ariz—Strong service and sophomore leadership highlighted the Arizona Western Lady Matadors (11-9 overall, 4-0 ACCAC) sweep of Eastern Arizona (8-11 overall, 0-5 ACCAC) Friday night at The House.
The Lady Mats controlled much of the match due to strong service from their rotation but proved they are learning their lesson when it comes to closing out tough opponents, fending off a late surge from the Gila Monsters.
The Matadors delivered 19 aces to help buoy their cause in their second match against the Gila Monsters this month.
The Matadors staked the early lead behind service from Jovana Papaz, as she was the first to deliver a pair of aces in what would be a trend to come.
The lead did not last long when Brooklyn Angle’s 4-0 service run put the Gila Monsters in the up 8-4. That forced the Matadors to rally behind Melissa Garciglia Banuelos’s her three consecutive aces to tie the set at 9.
It was a back and fourth game until Lauolive Tonga delivered a hot service hand with a 4-0 run that put the Lady Mats up 21-17. The Mats closed out the set at 25-20.
Garciglia Banuelos added to her early performance in the second set when her back to back kills gave the Mats a lead 6-3. She then improved upon her first set service, with three aces in a 5 point run to give the Mats control of the second set at 12-5.
Tonga delivered a big kill in the match sparking a 22-11 advantage before AWC would easily lock up the second set at 25-16.
Things got dicey in the third set as the two sides exchanged points up to a 14-14 gridlock. Tonga served the Matadors into a 21-14 lead behind Garciglia Banuelos’ three kills over the stretch.
But Eastern marched right back into the set with a balanced attack and Jalyn Osbourne’s serve made it 22-21. The teams went back and forth with AWC forcing match point at 24-23 on a Luisa Maria Mesa kill. But the Gila Monsters prolonged the ending.
Tonga would force two more match points before Papaz delivered the match ender.
Arizona Western relied on strong service throughout, with 19 total aces. as Garciglia Banuelos led the night with nine aces and ten kills. Tonga was right there with five aces and six kills and Papaz added four aces and six kills.
The Matadors pick up a key conference win to remain unbeaten in ACCAC play before a big showdown with another conference leader.
The Lady Matadors next match will be Wednesday, October 2nd in Prescott, AZ against unbeaten Yavapai College and will return home on Friday, October 4th to take on another leader in Scottsdale College.
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.