Desert Vista’s girls volleyball squad made quite a statement last weekend on a national stage.

The Thunder (21-1) dominated from start to finish during the inaugural Nike Volleyball Tournament of Champions, which took place in Chandler and Gilbert and included several nationally ranked teams from the western part of the country.

“It’s certainly a great opportunity to play in a tournament like this and to play well,” Desert Vista coach Molly West said after Saturday night’s championship victory over California’s Clovis West High School.

“It’s good for our players to play teams from out of state, some of which hold national rankings. And it’s a good building block for the state playoffs. Our goal was to reach the championship match, so I’m pleased we were able to reach our goal and then some.”

Desert Vista — ranked No. 2 in the state behind Phoenix Xavier — went 9-0 during the tournament, winning every match in two games. Saturday night’s title match (25-19, 26-24) looked as if it might go three games, as Clovis West led 18-15 in the second game. But Desert Vista senior Betsi Metter (5 kills, one block, two aces) helped her squad run off five consecutive points to regain control.

“(Clovis was a pretty solid team,” West said. “But Betsi came up big again, and that’s what she usually does. She’s been the glue for this team, and she’s a great leader.”

Kyle Hartman also had five kills for the Thunder, while Renae Sniegowski and McKella Williams combined for 24 digs during the championship match.

“I think the key for us is that we stayed really poised,” Metter said of coming from behind in the second game against Clovis.

“Coach West puts us through a lot of good drills in practice that help us keep our poise during close matches.”

Desert Vista advanced to the championship match by defeating Chandler Seton Catholic, 25-18, 25-21.

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