The bus ride from Desert Vista to Sandra Day O’Connor almost took as long as the match itself.
It definitely felt that way for the Thunder on the way back after getting swept in the Division I quarterfinals by Sandra Day O’Connor on Thursday to have the season come to an end.
“It was painful,” Desert Vista coach Molly West said.
The third-seeded Eagles (34-6) took the No. 6 Thunder out of their system, most of their jump serves came up aces and used their all-round attack to bring Desert Vista’s season to an end with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-19.
“We couldn’t pass to save our lives, and I am really surprised, because I didn’t expect that all,” West said. “I knew Sandra Day is a good team, but so are we. We have been playing well really well, but we couldn’t put it together tonight.”
Desert Vista (30-11) grabbed a 5-1 lead in the first set, but the Eagles went on a 10-1 run to grab control and never really let go.
“That was a gigantic win,” Eagles coach Bill Bellis said. “They are a really good ball club and we had them out of their system a little bit and anytime that happens to anybody you are going to struggle.”
After the Thunder closed within 16-13, SDO won the next four with Kalie Lyle breaking off some great serves that kept Desert Vista from setting up their offense with any efficiency.
It led to a quick first game and the Thunder, although the matches were closer, never got in a rhythm enough to really pose a threat to the Eagles, who will play No. 2 Hamilton at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the state semifinals at Mesquite High.
Ninth-seeded Mountain Pointe had a similar result as the Pride (20-20) fell 25-12, 25-17, 25-14 at No. 1 Horizon.
Horizon will face No. 4 Xavier in the semifinals at 6 p.m. at Mesquite.
Horizon Honors kept it from being a complete knockout by the Ahwatukee programs as the 10th-seeded Eagles got past No. 7 Parker, 25-21, 33-31, 19-25, 26-24 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
They advance to Friday’s second round where they will play No. 2 Veritas Prep at 6 p.m. on Friday at TTC.
Desert Vista, which had its freshmen team go 17-0 and junior varsity finish at 16-1, sees three seniors – Taylor Garner, Josalyn Benson and Vanessa Wesley – have their careers come to end.
“Vanessa was the key factor and we are really going to miss her,” West said. “Talor and Josalyn have been great workers and leaders. They’ve done a really good job.
“It’s hard for anyone to have a season abruptly end, but it is especially hard on seniors.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.