The Fountain Hills High School beach volleyball team managed to keep a perfect regular season record after adding two more wins to the tally last week, going 3-2 against both Northwest Christian and Saguaro to move to a showing of 13-0 and earn the section title.
This put the Falcons in the #2 seed for the playoffs, which began this past Monday, May 3, against the team from Trivium Prep. A victory there means the Falcons will host their second-round competition today, May 5, taking on the winner of the Chandler Prep/Northwest Christian first-round showdown. Additional details for that match were unavailable as of press time.
On Monday, April 26, the Falcons took on the team from Northwest Christian in an inter-sectional battle of top-10-ranked teams to determine who would earn the section title.
“We were able to pull this one off and won our section for the third straight year,” said head coach Peter McGloin. “But one of our 1’s players, Jelina Lynch, went down with an injury and will now be out for the playoffs, which is a huge loss for the program.”
McGloin said Lynch is one of the top players in the state, who had her sights set on setting the school record for wins and taking home the pairs championship with her partner, Grace Abrams, in a few weeks.
“We had already won the match when she got hurt, and she and Grace were up in the first set against extremely good opponents who are committed to play indoor volleyball at D1 programs Oregon and GCU,” McGloin continued. “Jelina and Grace were putting on a clinic on how to play beach and the level of play was amazing.”
McGloin said that, while the injury took a bit of wind out of the team’s sails, the ladies still game together for a “Senior Sunset” celebration to honor the seven young women set to graduate from the team. Seniors include Jordan Pace, Grace Abrams, Layne Lease, Emerald Sopeland, Ainsley Boersma, Meghan Bearer and Jelina Lynch.
“During the time this class was at FHHS from the 2018 to 2021 season, they have been a part of a record of 44-2 in beach volleyball so far,” McGloin said. “This is an incredible group of seniors who have left their mark on the program and the school in general, and in the hearts of all of our younger players.
“They have set an incredible example of how to work and treat others, and the love that I saw amongst everyone this night was a beautiful sight to see.”
The final match of the regular season took place on Wednesday, April 28, with the Falcons taking on the team from Saguaro High School.
McGloin said the Falcons had to make some quick adjustments following the injury earlier in the week, but still managed to pull off a second 3-2 victory in a row.
The match began with the 2’s pairing of Brooke Williams and Mia Kohoutek, who lost for the first time this season in a close match that saw the duo down in the first set, 21-17, up in the second, 21-15, and then falling behind 15-8 to wrap things up.
At the 5’s, Bella Garman and Elliana Schulze played together and, according to McGloin, came out with enough intensity to take control of the match early and never look back, going on to win at 21-14, 21-10.
The 4’s pairing of Jordan Pace and Emerald Sopeland was next and, as McGloin put it, they were as steady as ever to earn another win at 21-12, 21-14.
“The next match to finish was the 3’s of Meghan Bearer and Ashley Borsma, who came out with their hair on fire and played so fast and aggressively, and had a ton of highlights while winning 21-16 and 21-11 to clinch the win for the program and the undefeated regular season.”
Up 3-1 at this point, Layne Lease stepped in to play alongside Grace Abrams to finish the match. McGloin said it was another match filled with highlights but, with the duo playing together for the first time, they went on to lose a close competition at 21-16, 22-20.
“Now we head to the playoffs a little bit weakened, but with a lot of togetherness,” McGloin said. “I feel like the adversity we faced last week has already brought the team even closer together, and everyone wants to do their part to help us reach our goals.”