Northland Prep Academy won its final home game of the season, taking all three sets against Mingus Mountain Academy on Thursday.
The Spartans opened strong against the Mountain Lions in the 2A Conference, Central Region matchup and kept up their lead through the rest of the match.
Strong serves by No. 19 Northland Prep kept Mingus Mountain -- unranked due to not scheduling enough matches -- on the defensive. Rebecca Gerety had a few big runs throughout the night, as did Ryleigh Davis and Avery Thomas.
Northland Prep, improving to 11-5 overall and 5-4 in the region standings, took the first set, 25-7. The second and third sets followed much the same pattern. The Spartans took the second set 25-8, and the final frame 25-15.
“We kept up our energy and played as a team,” said Gerety, a senior.
The Spartans worked very well together, laughing with each other throughout the match, which was their fourth consecutive victory.
“I think we just had fun out there, honestly,” said senior Savannah Gaun, “It was our last home game and we just put our hearts into it.”
Northland Prep will continue fighting toward qualifying for the 2A state tournament. A win against region foe Sedona Red Rock on Tuesday could get them into the bubble.
The Spartans have been practicing a great deal for the regular season's final match, as a lot rides on its outcome.
“We’re going to go out there and play our game,” said Spartans head coach Lacey Ebersole. “We’re going to finish the game, especially the third set, and stay up on top.”
It was an attitude shared by the rest of the team.
“We’ve worked on staying focused every game, staying in our position, and just working well together,” Gaun said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Thursday's match fell on Northland Prep’s Senior Night, making it quite emotional for for the girls.
“I’ve been playing with these girls for eight years,” Gerety said, “So it’s kind of like our final goodbye.”
Keeping Mingus Mountain winless and completing the two-match season sweep was the final touch to making a great last home game and night.
“So many emotions flowing through. It was a good night,” Gaun said. “These are happy tears."
The Spartans take on the 13th-ranked Scorpions at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Sedona.
FLAGSTAFF 3, BRADSHAW MOUNTAIN 1
Dropping their first set of Grand Canyon Region play Thursday night, the No. 5 Flagstaff Eagles (12-3, 10-0) inched closer to a region title with their third straight win.
Just two matches remain in the regular season for Flagstaff, at Prescott Tuesday and home for Coconino Wednesday. Both matches start at 6 p.m.