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The Fountain Hills High School varsity volleyball team had two region losses to tough teams last week. On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Falcons lost 3-0 to Northwest Christian, and then lost 3-0 to Valley Christian on Friday, Oct. 8.

The Falcons were also supposed to play Wickenburg last Thursday, Oct. 7, but the match was cancelled. Head coach Olivia Long said there were several reasons why her team struggled on the road.

“Some of these include internal obstacles, such as the fact that two of our varsity middle hitters were out and one of our varsity defensive specialists was unable to play as well,” Long said. “For Friday's game, our strongest hitter, Sophie Wickland, was out. The lack of depth at all of these positions made it difficult for us to make necessary adjustments on defense when it came to blocking the Christian schools’ consistent hitters and getting some solid digs.”

Long filled the holes of the varsity roster with junior varsity underclassmen. She said that sophomore Addison Norbeck and freshman Seliah Smith did well to rise to the challenge when thrown into the lion’s den.

Long also mentioned that both Northwest and Valley Christian have several players with D1 collegiate offers. Long has said since the beginning that this is a season of growth for the Falcons, and it’s hard to compete with more experienced players.

“That being said, these girls know how to hold their own” Long said. “The scores reflect a different story but being on the sidelines of the Valley Christian game, I saw the girls put so much heart and effort into their play. They got some incredible touches on tough digs and sacrificed their bodies multiple times to get the save… Tuesday’s game was an ugly one for us, especially defensively, so Friday, to watch them fix the mistakes from Tuesday, it gave me a lot of hope.”

Long said a week like last week allows her and her team to refocus during practices and refine certain skills. The Falcons are still unbeaten at home and will have to win three times this week to keep it that way.

The Falcons welcomed Eastmark on Monday, Oct. 11, and Camp Verde on Tuesday, Oct. 12, before publishing. The Falcons start the second half of their region schedule and play each opponent for the second time starting Thursday, Oct. 14. The Falcons will look for revenge when they host Chino Valley on Thursday and hope to beat the Bourgade Catholic Golden Eagles again next Tuesday, Oct. 19, on the road.