HOME ROSTER SCHEDULE CALENDAR STAFF GALLERY HISTORY SPONSORS CAMP  
   
                   
 

 


2015 ARCHIVES
 
   
 

 

2015 TIGER VARSITY ROSTER
 
   
 

 

#

NAME

POSITION HEIGHT GRADE    
    13 Krystal Blair MB 6' 3" 10    
    2 Samantha Boever S 5' 7'' 12    
    16 Madi Boheneck OH 5' 7'' 10    
    12 Allyson Fedor DS 5' 7'' 12    
    8 Alyssa Gilmore OH 5' 10'' 11    
    4 Kameryn Hill L 5' 5'' 12    
    11 Tiffany Hurd OPP/OH 6' 1'' 11    
    5 Chelsea Johnson S/RS 5' 10'' 11    
    10 Christa Layser MB/RS 5' 9'' 11    
    9 Kaitlyn Lines OH 6' 0'' 11    
    7 Makenna Martin OH 5' 9'' 12    
    3 Alexa Rockas MB 6' 1" 11    
    1 Elizabeth White L/DS 5' 4" 11    
    6 Brianna Wiemers MB 5' 11" 11    
    15 Reyna Yanez OH 5' 5" 10    
    14 Ashlyn Zilch OPP/S 5' 7'' 11    
         
 

 


2015 TIGER JUNIOR VARSITY ROSTER
 
   
 

 

#

NAME

POSITION

HEIGHT

GRADE    
    9 Sydney Aldridge S/DS 5' 4" 10    
    14 Bregany Causey MB 5' 5'' 10    
    1,15 Loretta Christian RS/S 5' 7'' 10    
    8 Lauren Ciolli DS/L 5' 0'' 11    
    6 Jaclyn Faltz L/DS 5' 4'' 10    
    4 Mariah Merriam M 5' 10'' 10    
    11 Aubrey Miller DS 5' 4'' 10    
    15 Jenna Pawlowski S/RS 5' 7'' 10    
    12 MacKenzie Peterson M 5' 8'' 10    
    5 Emily Potter OH 5' 6'' 10    
    10 Brooke Klinger DS 5' 4'' 11    
    13 Katie Nelson-DiConti OH 5' 5" 11    
    7 Megan Nelson-DiConti S 5' 7" 10    
    3 Savannagh Tanner OH 5' 3" 10    
         
 

 


2015 TIGER FRESHMEN ROSTER
 
   
 

 

#

NAME

POSITION HEIGHT GRADE    
    3 Ava Altenbern L 5' 1" 9    
    8 Kendall Buck OH 5' 4'' 9    
    14 Natalia Gutierrez OH 5' 5'' 9    
    6 Daja Jackson OH/OPP/DS 5' 2'' 9    
    9 Hailey Johnson OH 5' 7'' 9    
    15 Karlie Kronewitter M 5' 8'' 9    
    12 Maddie Milner M 5' 9'' 9    
    10 Katana Montford S 5' 6'' 9    
    1 Natalia Olabarrieta L 5' 3'' 9    
    4 Chloe Price M 5' 5'' 9    
    11 Alissa Roberts OH   9    
    13 Catie Speas S 5' 7" 9    
    5

Mia Stankiewicz

RH 5' 4" 9    
    7

Natalie Williams

OH 5' 8" 9    
         
     

TEAM COLORS: BLACK & GOLD
MASCOT: TIGERS
1101 E. Elliot Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
Phone
(480) 497-0177 Ext. 169
   
   

STAFF

   
    Varsity Head Coach Joe Hesse    
    Varsity Assistant Coach Matt Gutierrez    
    Volunteer Varsity Assistant Dave Ahmann    
    JV Head Coach Haylee Thompson
    Freshmen Head Coach Tana Martin    
    Freshman Assistant Coach Pam Miller    
    Manager      
    Statistics      
           
   

ADMINISTRATION

   
    Principal Mr. Christopher Stroud    
    Athletic Director Dan Haasch    
    Athletic Dept. Secretary Katie Suesue    
           
 

 


2015 TIGER VARSITY SCHEDULE
 
   
    SEPTEMBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    09/02 Wednesday 6:00 PM Away Horizon 3-0 1-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-18  / Set Two 25-11 / Set Three 25-8    
    09/03 Thursday 6:00 PM Away Chandler 3-0 2-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-18  / Set Two 25-9 / Set Three 25-19    
    09/08 Tuesday 6:00 PM Home Queen Creek 3-0 3-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-12  / Set Two 25-14 / Set Three 25-9    
    09/10 Thursday 6:00 PM Home Desert Vista 3-0 4-0    
    Match Results - Set One 27-25  / Set Two 25-18 / Set Three 25-22    
    09/15 Tuesday 6:00 PM Away Desert Mountain 3-0 5-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-11  / Set Two 25-14 / Set Three 25-20    
    09/17 Thursday 6:00 PM Away Corona del Sol 3-1 6-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 25-22 / Set Three 24-26  / Set Four 25-22    
    Westwood Tournament of Champions    
    09/18 Friday     Florence 2-0 ---    
    09/18 Friday     Mountain Ridge 2-0 ---    
    09/18 Friday     Prescott 2-0 ---    
    09/19 Saturday     Corona 2-0 ---    
    09/19 Saturday     Desert Vista 1-2 ---    
    09/22 Tuesday 6:00 PM Home Mountain Pointe 3-2 7-0    
    Match Results - Set One 25-18  / Set Two 20-25 / Set Three 25-14  / Set Four 20-25  / Set Five 15-11    
    09/24 Thursday 6:00 PM Home Xavier Prep 2-3 7-1    
    Match Results - Set One 14-25  / Set Two 25-13 / Set Three 22-25  / Set Four 25-17  / Set Five 12-15    
    09/30 Wednesday 6:00 PM Home Sunnyslope 3-1 8-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-13  / Set Two 18-25 / Set Three 25-15  / Set Four 30-28    
    OCTOBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    NIKE Tournament of Champions    
    10/02 Friday 1:30PM KROC-4 St. John Lutheran  (FL) 2-1 ---    
    10/02 Friday 2:30PM KROC-4 Parkland (PA) 0-2 ---    
    10/02 Friday 4:30PM KROC-4 Flagstaff 2-0 ---    
    10/03 Saturday 12:30PM KROC Jesuit (OR) 1-2 GOLD    
    10/03 Saturday 2:30PM KROC Xavier Prep 3-0 CHAMPIONS    
    10/06 Tuesday 6:00 PM Home Pinnacle 3-0 9-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 25-20  / Set Three 25-18    
    10/08 Thursday 6:00 PM Home Highland 3-0 10-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 25-20  / Set Three 25-18    
    Gilbert Tournament    
    10/16 Friday TBA TBA TBA --- ---    
    10/17 Saturday TBA TBA TBA --- ---    
    10/20 Tuesday 6:00 PM Away Chaparral 3-1 11-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-23  / Set Two 24-26  / Set Three 25-20  / Set Four 25-14    
    10/21 Wednesday 6:00 PM Away Basha 1-3 11-2    
    Match Results - Set One 32-30  / Set Two 21-25  / Set Three 22-25  / Set Four 20-25    
    10/22 Thursday 6:00 PM Away Mesa 3-0 12-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-19  / Set Two 25-20  / Set Three 25-21    
    10/27 Tuesday 6:00 PM Home Red Mountain 3-0 13-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-17  / Set Two 25-21  / Set Three 25-17    
    10/28 Wednesday 6:00 PM Away Hamilton 3-0 14-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-17  / Set Two 25-23  / Set Three 25-19    
    10/29 Thursday 6:00 PM Away Mountain View Mesa 3-0 15-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-15  / Set Two 25-16  / Set Three 25-16    
    DIVISION I STATE TOURNAMENT    
    11/03 Tuesday 6:30 PM Home Campo Verde 3-0 1-0    
    11/05 Thursday 6:30 PM Home Perry 3-2 2-0    
    11/07 Saturday 4:00 PM Mesquite HS Xavier 2-3 2-1    
 

 


2015 TIGER JUNIOR VARSITY SCHEDULE
 
   
    SEPTEMBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    09/02 Wednesday 5:00 PM Away Horizon 0-2 0-1    
    Match Results - Set One 6-25  / Set Two 23-25    
    09/03 Thursday 5:00 PM Away Chandler 2-0 1-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-13  / Set Two 25-13    
    09/08 Tuesday 5:00 PM Home Queen Creek 2-0 2-1    
    Match Results - Set One 25-19  / Set Two 25-11    
    09/10 Thursday 5:00 PM Home Desert Vista 0-2 2-2    
    Match Results - Set One 18-25  / Set Two 19-25    
    09/15 Tuesday 5:00 PM Away Desert Mountain 2-1 3-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-19  / Set Two 23-25 / Set Three 15-12    
    09/17 Thursday 5:00 PM Away Corona del Sol 0-2 3-3    
    Match Results - Set One 12-25  / Set Two 14-25    
    09/22 Tuesday 5:00 PM Home Mountain Pointe 0-2 3-4    
    Match Results - Set One 19-25  / Set Two 17-25    
    09/24 Thursday 5:00 PM Home Xavier Prep 0-2 3-5    
    Match Results - Set One 20-25  / Set Two 20-25    
    09/30 Wednesday 5:00 PM Home Sunnyslope 2-0 4-5    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 25-22    
    OCTOBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    10/06 Tuesday 5:00 PM Home Pinnacle 1-2 4-6    
    Match Results - Set One 22-25  / Set Two 25-21  / Set Three 13-15    
    10/08 Thursday 5:00 PM Home Highland 2-0 5-6    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 25-22    
    10/20 Tuesday 4:00 PM Away Chaparral 2-0 6-6    
    Match Results - Set One 25-12  / Set Two 25-16    
    10/21 Wednesday 5:00 PM Away Basha 2-1 7-6    
    Match Results - Set One 22-25  / Set Two 25-23  / Set Three 15-12    
    10/22 Thursday 5:00 PM Away Mesa 2-1 8-6    
    Match Results - Set One 25-20  / Set Two 23-25  / Set Three 15-8    
    10/27 Tuesday 5:00 PM Home Red Mountain 2-1 9-6    
    Match Results - Set One 24-26  / Set Two 25-21  / Set Three 15-7    
    10/28 Wednesday 5:00 PM Away Hamilton 2-0 10-6    
    Match Results - Set One 25-23  / Set Two 25-23    
    10/29 Thursday 5:00 PM Away Mountain View Mesa 2-0 11-6    
    Match Results - Set One 25-18  / Set Two 25-22    
 

 


2015 TIGER FRESHMAN SCHEDULE
 
   
    SEPTEMBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    09/02 Wednesday 4:00 PM Away Horizon 0-2 0-1    
    Match Results - Set One  24-26 / Set Two  16-25    
    09/03 Thursday 4:00 PM Away Chandler 2-0 1-1    
    Match Results - Set One  25-16 / Set Two  25-20    
    09/08 Tuesday 4:00 PM Home Queen Creek 2-0 2-1    
    Match Results - Set One  25-13 / Set Two  25-22    
    09/10 Thursday 4:00 PM Home Desert Vista 1-2 2-2    
    Match Results - Set One 22-25  / Set Two 25-23 / Set Three 13-15    
    09/15 Tuesday 6:00 PM Away Desert Mountain 2-0 3-2    
    Match Results - Set One  25-13 / Set Two  25-21    
    09/17 Thursday 4:00 PM Away Corona del Sol 2-0 4-2    
    Match Results - Set One  27-25 / Set Two  30-28    
    09/22 Tuesday 4:00 PM Home Mountain Pointe 2-0 5-2    
    Match Results - Set One  27-25 / Set Two  30-28    
    09/24 Thursday 4:00 PM Home Xavier Prep 2-0 6-2    
    Match Results - Set One 26-24  / Set Two 27-25    
    09/30 Wednesday 4:00 PM Home Sunnyslope 2-0 7-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-13  / Set Two 25-21    
    OCTOBER TIME LOCATION OPPONENT RESULT RECORD    
    10/06 Tuesday 4:00 PM Home Pinnacle 2-1 8-2    
    Match Results - Set One 22-25  / Set Two 25-21 / Set Three 15-10    
    10/08 Thursday 4:00 PM Home Highland 2-0 9-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-15  / Set Two 25-20    
    10/20 Tuesday 4:00 PM Away Chaparral 2-0 10-2    
    Match Results - Set One 25-17  / Set Two 25-15    
    10/21 Wednesday 4:00 PM Away Basha 1-2 10-3    
    Match Results - Set One 26-24  / Set Two 23-25 / Set Three 5-15    
    10/22 Thursday 4:00 PM Away Mesa 2-0 11-3    
    Match Results - Set One 25-7  / Set Two 25-12    
    10/27 Tuesday 4:00 PM Home Red Mountain 2-0 12-3    
    Match Results - Set One 25-18  / Set Two 25-17    
    10/28 Wednesday 4:00 PM Away Hamilton 1-2 12-4    
    Match Results - Set One 25-23  / Set Two 25-27 / Set Three 8-15    
    10/29 Thursday 4:00 PM Away Mountain View Mesa 2-0 13-4    
    Match Results - Set One 25-12  / Set Two 25-18    
 

 


2015 VARSITY PHOTO GALLERIES
 
   
    September 08, 2015
vs. Queen Creek
   
   
   
   
September 10, 2015
vs. Desert Vista
   
   
   
September 22, 2015
vs. Mountain Pointe
Photos courtesy of Dennis Webb Photography. These photos and more from the match can be purchased by
players, parents and fans in an uncropped professional quality format and size by visiting
AZDEWPHOTO.COM
   
   
 
October 3, 2015
Nike Tournament of Champions - Gold Bracket Champions
   
   
   
   
   
 

 


NOVEMBER 4, 2015

By Al Bravo, Special to Tribune

Gilbert overcomes 2-0 deficit to beat Perry - The third-seeded Gilbert Tigers have been looking for the right formula to make a deeper run in the Division I state volleyball tournament.

After winning the big school title in 2011, Gilbert has not reached the semifinals the last three years in a row.

After two sets on Thursday, the pattern looked to continue.

“At that point, it’s who wants it more,” said libero Kameryn Hill. “I know me and (outside hitter) Makenna Martin have been wanting this ever since our freshman year. We have always lost in the quarterfinals. This was our goal, to get passed it and we know we can win this year. Our team believed in us and all we worked together and we made it. We pushed and fought and didn’t let up.”

Despite coming up short early, the Tigers rallied for a 24-26, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-11 win over No. 6 Perry to advance to Saturday’s semifinals at Mesquite. Gilbert will face No. 2 Phoenix Xavier Prep, who easily swept Corona del Sol in its quarterfinal match on Thursday.

For the Tigers (32-10), the quarterfinal was more than a tightly played match, according to coach Joe Hesse.

“You have to be able to overcome adversity at this time of year,” Hesse said. “We played really well last week against Hamilton, our best match of the year. (We) carried that into this week, go down 0-2 and now it tests you. Now you see what you have and they figured it out. Does this help us? Absolutely.”

Maybe Gilbert could parlay its quarterfinal struggles against Xavier. The Tigers have plenty to draw from.

Gilbert led 23-20 in the first set and 22-17 in the second before losing. Perry rallied by running off four straight points to get the lead and hold on in the first game. In the second, the Pumas overcame six service errors to rally.

“We are pretty limited in the adjustments we can make because we are not super deep,” Hesse said. “So the adjustments we were making were mental – we can do this. We got to 22 and couldn’t win. It’s our place, we are the better team if we are playing well, so it’s just a momentum thing. When you get it and you keep it, you win. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side.”

Gilbert re-established its offense with Kaitlyn Lines and Krystal Blair at the net and Makenna Martin in a supporting role. Perry had found a way to keep Lines in check with a timely block strategy.

The Tigers’ leading hitter admitted it shook her confidence but she and her teammates turned it around in the third and fourth set, although Perry kept it close. Unforced errors ultimately doomed the Pumas.

In the deciding set, Gilbert took control early and after scoring the first four points, never led by less than three points. Alexa Rockas had a couple of key kills late to help secure the win.

Perry sophomore middle Kennedy Kaminsky held her own against Lines, with help from Hannah Stevenson. Taylor Knoll and Ryann Davis had plenty of success to pace the Perry offense but the service errors and defensive miscues were too much to overcome.

“Our program is improving,” Perry coach Fred Mann said. “Our girls are improving. They are close. We are proud of them. We tried to negate what they were doing, in the end, they outmatched us in the middle, I think.”

Gilbert has reached the final eight for the last 14 years in a row. Perry, in just its ninth year of existence, has reached the postseason the last three years.

 

   


NOVEMBER 7, 2015

By Al Bravo, Special to Tribune

Gilbert  stopped in semifinals - Gilbert got as close to reaching the state championship match as you can get – and not get there.

“We’re 24-22 with the ball in game four,” said Tigers coach Joe Hesse. “In game five, who knows what’s going to happen and when you have the best terminator around, she did what she does.”

Hesse was referring to Xavier’s Khalia Lanier, the consensus player of the year in Arizona, who figured prominently all night, including during the most critical stages.

“It was about who had the momentum for the rest of the game,” Gilbert libero Kameryn Hill added. “You carry that into the next set. It was back-and-forth and back-and-forth. We played our hearts out, just some unforced errors on our side a little bit. We fought hard.”

Despite having a 24-22 lead in the fourth game and 10-8 in the fifth, the third-seeded Tigers fell to No. 2 Xavier 25-16, 22-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-12, in the state Division I volleyball semifinals on Saturday at Mesquite

After not being able to bounce back in the first set, Gilbert found its offense and took advantage of Xavier’s unforced errors to win the next two and put itself in position for a return to the final for the first time since winning it all in 2011.

The Tigers have lost in the quarterfinals for the last three years until rallying from an 0-2 deficit against sixth-seeded Perry on Thursday.

In the pivotal fourth set, Xavier’s Lanier put away the ball down the line to get Xavier the ball back trailing 24-23. A Gilbert serve receive error left the game tied and then Lanier got a block and a kill to send the match to a deciding set.

“Obviously the game plan revolves around trying to defend her,” Hesse said of Lanier. “Not many people are able to do that well. We gave it a shot. They beat us with their best player.”

The see-saw fifth set saw neither team take more than a one-point advantage until Gilbert ran off three straight points on a Kaitlyn Lines kill, a block by Alexa Rockas on Lanier and an ace by Makenna Martin to give the Tigers a 10-8 lead.

Lines hit the ball long and the Xavier rally was on. The game was tied at 12 when Lanier took over. She got kills on the last three points to secure the win.

“I’m glad we went down fighting rather than not giving it our all, so that is what I am happy about,” Hill said.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant added, “Gilbert is a fantastic team. Their seniors were great. The ball just bounced our way tonight.”



 

   
 

 


Gilbert nabs NIKE TOC Volleyball gold bracket title - October 3, 2015 by Les Willsey, AIA365

Gilbert High's girls volleyball team started play Saturday with a loss, but three victories later found itself a bracket champion at the 7th Annual Nike Tournament of Champions Invitational in Phoenix.


Gilbert shook off bracket-qualifying loss early Saturday afternoon and proceeded to battle injury-plagued Xavier Prep in the gold bracket it was placed in after losing to nationally-ranked Jesuit High (Portland, Ore.). Gilbert defeated Xavier, 25-17, 21-25, 15-12 -- a Gators team trying to come to grips with losing setter Callie Jones two weeks ago to a dislocated finger and USC commit and one of the nation's top prep players in outside hitter Khalia Lanier. Lanier suffered an ankle injury three days ago in a match against Hamilton and hasn't played since. Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant expects Lanier to be sidelined a couple weeks.


Gilbert didn't rely on one attacker in staving off Xavier -- the Tigers usually don't. Kaitlyn Lines, Makenna Martin, Krystal Blair and Alexa Rockas combined for 30 kills in the match. Xavier was led by Lanie Wagner with seven kills and Makena Patterson with six. Wagner willed Xavier to the win in the second set with a block and four kills among Xavier's final seven points of the set. Wagner also served the final four points of the set.


There certainly was no shame in the match Gilbert lost on Saturday, nor was there in Xavier's defeat that landed it in the gold bracket. Jesuit has won its last 56 matches in a row counting the seven it won at the TOC this weekend. Jesuit went on to win the elite bracket (platinum) beating P.K. Yonge (Gainesville, Fla.) in two sets. Jesuit qualified for Platinum play by beating Gilbert, 2-1. The set Jesuit lost to Gilbert was the only set it's lost this season and only the third set it's dropped the last two years.


Xavier, which dropped three of seven matches in the tournament, lost its platinum qualifier to P.K. Yonge -- another nationally ranked program along with the Gators. Before PK Yonge lost in the platinum final, it hadn't lost a set this season except to Xavier earlier in the day. Arizona teams that qualified for the platinum bracket were Desert Vista, Hamilton and Corona del Sol. Desert Vista lost in the semifinals to Jesuit and Hamilton bowed to P.K. Yonge in the first round. Desert Vista defeated Corona in the first round of bracket play.


Arizona teams managed to win titles in four of the other six brackets. Ironwood Ridge won the Sapphire (2-0 over Mountain Ridge), Sandra Day O'Connor topped Mesa High 2-0 in the Diamond, Horizon bested Valencia 2-1 in the Silver and Desert Edge took down Tempe Prep for the Emerald crown.
 
    .
Girls volleyball: Desert Vista, Gilbert top performers at Nike TOC -By Al Bravo,  Tribune

With several nationally ranked schools in the mix, a few Arizona teams made their mark at the Nike Tournament of Champions on Saturday.

While Hamilton and Phoenix Xavier have been acknowledged as the top two teams in the state, it was Desert Vista and Gilbert who got some attention at the 64-team tournament held Friday and Saturday in Chandler, Tempe and Phoenix.

As expected, the three schools ranked by MaxPreps among the top 10 best volleyball teams in the nation were in final four of the elite flight of teams by late Saturday. In a minor upset, Jesuit of Portland, Ore., beat P.K. Yonge of Gainesville, Fla. in the “Platinum” division final of the tournament, although Yonge was ranked second in the nation coming into the tournament while Jesuit was eighth.

Meanwhile, defending Arizona state champion Desert Vista rallied to beat Parkland of Allentown, Penn., 21-25, 26-24, 15-11, for third place in the top tier, making the Thunder the highest placed Arizona team of the weekend. Parkland was ranked 10th by MaxPreps.

“There were definitely a lot of good teams at this tournament,” said Desert Vista libero Kendall Glover. “It was great ending up on the top and showing what we can do.”

Hamilton was swept by Yonge in the quarterfinals while Corona del Sol was dropped into the consolation bracket by Desert Vista on Saturday afternoon. The Thunder were beaten 25-9, 25-22 by Jesuit in the semifinals, although the Thunder led 18-15 in the second set.

In fact, Jesuit hasn’t lost a set all season until Gilbert got them in the first match of the day – the placement matches that put the Tigers in the second tied, “Gold” division. Gilbert lost 27-25, 22-25, 15-12 to the Oregon school. Gilbert ended up the Gold division champions, beating Xavier 25-17, 21-25, 15-12.

“Our goal was to come here, see the competition, play well, and to beat Xavier, even a man down, we haven’t done that in a few years so we needed to get over that hump,” Gilbert coach Joe Hesse said. “Our best match of the day was against Jesuit. We had them on the ropes, they end up winning the tournament so we’re right there, we are very close and we know it.”

The talented Tiger squad seemed to find its rhythm over the weekend. Kaitlyn Lines led Gilbert with 10 kills while Makenna Martin added six kills and 12 digs in the division final win over Xavier, who was playing with star hitter Khalia Lanier. The Xavier senior sprained her ankle in the loss earlier in the week to Hamilton.

Gilbert spread the ball and had its block going against Xavier, who still had plenty of offense despite missing its best player. Sophomore Krystal Blair, who had six kills and four blocks, got a key kill late as Gilbert took advantage of Xavier unforced errors to hold off the Gators, who had tied the third set at 12.
   
   



 

   
 

 


Gilbert volleyball winning while working on chemistry
By Al Bravo special to Tribune - October 13, 2015

With less than a month left in the regular season, there’s enough time to make adjustments and make a run in the state tournament.

The Gilbert Tigers would like to think so.

After an impressive showing at the 64-team Nike Tournament of Champions last weekend, the Tigers got even more attention. Observers know about the talent level. Five of Gilbert’s regulars are headed for Division I programs once they finish high school.

But if you ask the players or coach Joe Hesse, there is just a bit of hesitation despite being 21-5 entering the final three weeks of the season.

“We’re right there, we are very close, and we know it,” Hesse said after his team finished off top-ranked Phoenix Xavier to win the Gold division of the tournament.

Co-captain Makenna Martin would agree.

“We are working on that mindset,” she said. “We have a lot of great individuals, but at the moment we are trying to work together as a team, get everybody together, it will come, we will peak at the right time.”

Even Martin was a bit tentative in talking about her team, saying it was a work in progress.

Again, not that this is a group lacking in talent or confidence. The Tigers were excited about their win over Xavier — none of the players on the roster have experienced that. But you could measure a bit of disappointment that Gilbert didn’t reach the elite “Platinum” division bracket on Saturday at the Kroc Salvation Army gym in south Phoenix.

The Tigers were dropped into the second “Gold” division tier after losing to eventual champion Portland (Ore.) Jesuit in the placement match. But there is even a silver lining there — Gilbert took a set from Jesuit, which hasn’t lost a set all season and is ranked in the top 10 nationally by MaxPreps.

“That’s our first step. This is a good step to have,” Martin said of the tournament experience. “So we have this.”

Again, the pieces are in place. Junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Lines and Martin pace the attack, each averaging more than three kills per set. Sophomore Krystal Blair has added to the effort with setter Sam Boever and libero Kameryn Hill as court leaders. (As of Oct. 5, Gilbert was third in power points behind Xavier and Hamilton.)

There’s a lot of talent just stepping out on the court.

Seniors Hill (Loyola Marymount), Martin (Arizona) and Boever (Northern Illinois) are set to go to the next level with Lines (Utah) and junior middle Alexa Rockas (University of San Francisco) having committed early.

So what’s missing?

“I think we are still working on team cohesion, team chemistry, we have some strong personalities, but when we are all firing on the same wavelength, we’re pretty good,” Hesse said. “We have a lot of options. So if we can manage to figure that out for the last month, our top group is pretty talented.”

Hill reiterated: “We are working on our chemistry because it is not all there,” she said. “We are getting to that point where our chemistry is getting a lot better. If we keeping working on that and working on where we are supposed to be playing on defense, where we are supposed to be on the court, trusting other people to get to balls, then we will be better.”

Gilbert has its own invitational tournament and matches against Mesa and Basha still left on the schedule, not to mention a meeting with title favorite Hamilton during the final week of the season.

“I think we definitely have the confidence to get there; we just have to work on our skill level,” Hill added.

Martin noted that the team has made strides.

“Our setter (Boever) is just starting this year,” Martin said. “(She’s) a great, great setter, definitely worked hard during club season to earn her spot. Our middle Krystal Blair has improved immensely, transition a lot quicker, improving on every point and being so positive.”