The Coconino beach volleyball team made some adjustments after its season-opening loss to Division I Boulder Creek.
The Division II Panthers made changes in most of their pairings and the result was a home-opening sweep over the D-I Barry Goldwater Bulldogs, 5-0, Wednesday at Coconino High School.
“The changes we made, I felt, looked pretty good today,” Panthers co-head coach Greta Hannemann said. “It was positive and I just saw good communication, and the pairs that were switched around a little bit seemed to gel a bit better than what we had last week.”
Goldwater was without its No. 5 squad, so the Bulldogs forfeited the spot, giving the host a 1-0 advantage from the start.
Giving Coconino its second win of the day was the Panthers' No. 3 pair of Sam Hampton and Anna Wiseman, who dominated their Bulldog opponents, 21-10, 21-4. The first set was close early, with the Panthers holding a 10-6 advantage. But Hampton and Wiseman outscored Goldwater’s duo 11-4 the rest of the way and then in the second set jumped ahead 11-2 to start the dominant second win.
Sophie Sinek and Rikenna Curtis filled in the No. 4 slot for Coconino as the only pair that stayed the same from the the Panthers' previous outing, and they found themselves down big to start on the other court. The two faced a 9-1 deficit early but eventually capitalized off Bulldog miscues to edge out a 21-18 first-set win. Sinek and Curtis controlled the second with a 21-11 win, clinching the team victory for Coconino early.
“There’s a little jitters; it’s our home opener and the weather wasn’t perfect,” Panthers co-head coach Scott Dendy said. “We’ve seen some pairs play a little better but it is good to see them bounce back. What we are really looking for is, are the pairs set or are we moving stuff around and how do people play with each other? So it’s kinda good since we are still adjusting early in the season.
"... There’s so many different possible combinations just because where they are in skill level. It’s about how we get the best out of each player and where do we put them to get the best out of each team.”
The Panthers’ fourth win of the day came from their No. 1 duo of Brooke Parker and Kenzie Palmer, who took a 21-15, 21-4 win. The two were in a back-and-forth set in the opening stanza, but pulled away after being down 11-10.
The final pairing to finish for Coconino was Mireya Cabrera and Megan Hicks in the Panthers' No. 2 spot. The two dropped the lone Coconino set of the day but still won 20-22, 21-12, 15-6.
Cabrera and Hicks nearly made a comeback in the first set after trailing most of the way. The two couldn’t get a chance at match point, however, yet pulled through in the second in third with convincing wins.
Despite the recent weather that has passed through Flagstaff, Dendy and Hannemann agreed that it has been tough, but said the team has done well to make good on the time they have had, even if it means getting out to the courts and shoveling their way in.
The Panthers (1-1) will take on Scottsdale Prep at home on Friday at 3 p.m.