Volleyball | 02/17/2021

VB: Mats Overcome Deficits in Win at EAC


THATCHER, Ariz---Early deficits were a theme but not a defeat as the Arizona Western Lady Matadors (3-6 overall, 1-0 ACCAC) constantly fought their way back to a four-set victory over the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters (0-6 overall, 0-1 ACCAC) in the conference opener Wednesday night inside Gitteau Gymnasium.

While the Matadors faced an early set deficit, the slow start to sets proved to not be a deterrent in their conference opening match.

The first set was back and forth between AWC and EAC as the Matadors rode behind Daniela Jimenez Paz and Patrycja Rykala. A few service errors let Eastern jump in front 23-20 but Pamela Durazo had a massive kill to snap the run before the Matadors took advantage of a pair of Eastern errors to tie the set at 23. But Eastern quickly closed it out from there and jumped ahead by taking set 1, 25-23.

In the second set, the Matadors struck first behind Jimenez Paz' rolling shot off the net. But a pair of errors and two Eastern aces put the Mats in another deficit, 5-2 in the second. Eastern expanded the lead to 9-5 before Naomy Vergez delivered a drop shot to swing the momentum. Earning the serve, Vergez rallied the Matadors to tie the set at 9, before Eastern sent an attack wide to give the Mats a lead.

Vergez was instrumental in the Matador offense throught the second set as it went back and forth in a tie-game until 20-20. Durazo delivered again after a long rally setting up Mariana Donado's drop shot to take the lead. The Matadors would close out the set quickly, as Durazo pummeled a pair of attacks and Jimenez Paz closed it out with a rocket down the line evening the match at one set a piece, 25-20.

Set three saw Eastern take another three point lead at 4-1. The Matadors played catch-up all the way to a 15-16 mark in the set, when Durazo dealt a pair of aces to give the Matadors the lead. Constanza Silva registered a pair of kills and Vergez added another kill before Silva stuffed the Eastern attack at the net, breaking through for a 21-18 advantage. Eastern would get as close as 22-20 before Jimenez Paz and Durazo slammed the door shut with three kills.

The Matadors trailed much of the early going again in the fourth before rallying behind Anny Montano to tie the set at 10. Montano's serve tilted the balance in favor of AWC as the Mats scored six straight point to take a 12-10 lead. It went back and forth for much of the way as Jimenez Paz, Silva and Montano all had important kills that stretched the advantage to five at 20-15 but it was Tylor Iosua's back row kill that provided a bit more breathing room setting up Silva two get a pair of kills sandwiched around a Jimenez Paz block to end it.

Jimenez Paz led the way for the Matadors with 14 kills while Silva was perfect on the night, registering 7 kills without an error and hitting .583. Durazo added 8 kills while Montano and Vergez played key roles with 6 a piece.

Donado orchestrated all that offense with 40 assists. Cristina Reyes led the defense with 23 digs while Montano added 13. Jerica Vele played a key role in service and defense, adding eight digs.

Arizona Western's previously scheduled trip to Pima on Friday has been postponed. The Matadors will prepare for their home opener against Yavapai on Wednesday, February 24th at 7:00pm. Fans are not allowed in attendance but the match will be streamed on the Matador Athletics Facebook Page

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.