Looking to make its way into the 4A Conference state tournament bracket, the Coconino Panthers volleyball team will be on the road for a play-in match on Thursday when they take on the Mesquite Wildcats in Gilbert.
The No. 23-seeded Panthers ended the regular season at 8-9 overall and 6-6 in the Grand Canyon Region and were led by the offense of Sophie Sinek, Mireya Cabrera and Anna Wiseman along the way. It's the first losing season the team has had since 2012, which ended at 8-10.
Brooke Parker played a solid role in helping the young roster reach a play-in match, leading the team in service aces and assists while ending the season with the second-most digs on the team. Kenzie Palmer had the team high in digs and was ninth in the conference in the category. The Panthers also received defensive help from Megan Hicks at the net, as she was the team leader in blocks.
Panthers head coach Bree Davis is taking a team into the playoffs for the second straight year after taking the helm last season.
The Wildcats, the No. 10 seed, had a 9-8 regular season and finished at 5-5 in the Desert Sky Region.
The Wildcats share similar strengths to the Panthers. Jen Jacot will enter the play-in tourney with the ninth-most aces in the conference at 69, and Layni Rodriguez will head into Thursday as the owner of 512 digs, the conference's second-highest amount.
Both teams are also made up of mainly underclassmen.
The match is set to start at 6:30 p.m.
SWIM AND DIVE
The Division III Basis Flagstaff Yeti swim and dive teams competed at the small school champs meet in Paradise Valley on Saturday, with the girls side of the roster coming away with a fifth-place finish at 175 points.
Abigael Conn had a fourth-place finish in the 500 freestyle to go with a sixth-place showing in the 200 distance of the event, clocking a 5:33.99 in the former and a 2:06.64 in the latter. Her 500 time was a couple seconds off her season best of 5:31.21, which currently sits as the sixth-best time in the division and is well ahead of the automatic qualifying time of 05:37.09.
Alexandra Henes had a couple top 10 performances for the Yeti, taking eighth place in the 200 individual medley at 2:28.09 and ninth in the 100 fly in 01:07.48, both coming in as provisional times. Ally Montgomery recorded a 1:07.36 in the 100 backstroke for a sixth-place result, and she ended her 200 IM race in 12th place. Maille Conn placed sixth in the 500 freestyle in 5:50.08 to go with an 11th-place finish in the 50 free. Clara Schuur finished ninth in the 200 IM in 2:29.94 and 11th in the 100 fly.
The girls relay teams also fared well, as the 200 free group had a fifth-place finish in 1:51.16 and the 200 medley crew ended up in sixth in 2:04.40.
The boys side did not place in the team standings. Basis Flagstaff's Jack Martin's two races stood out for the team -- he went 22nd in the 200 freestyle and 24th in the 100 back. Teammate Graham Norris had a 25th-place swim in the 50 free.