Playing with a hurt setter, the Flagstaff Eagles pushed the 4A Conference's top team to four sets in a loss Wednesday on the road.
Gracelyn Nez had 12 kills and as many digs, setter Devynn Hatathlie was banged-up after the first set and the No. 3-ranked Eagles lost their first match of the season in Glendale to the top-ranked Deer Valley Skyhawks, 25-20, 25-27, 25-16, 25-17.
Nez contributed four blocks on a night where the front row struggled to keep up with Deer Valley's Maleah Reynolds and Bailey Fuches, as the two combined for 35 of their team's 55 kills.
Flagstaff (8-1, 5-0 Grand Canyon Region) picked up a lot of balls in the losing effort, with libero Paetyn Nakai recording 37 digs. Hatathlie, on a limited role for most of the match, added 13 digs to go with six assists, with fellow setter Bridget Bond adding 12 digs and 13 assists.
Eagles head coach Beth Haglin said her volleyball team played well and was scrappy on defense, but noted that the blockers' timing wasn't on time enough to slow the rolling Skyhawks (10-0, 2-0 West Valley Region).
Cassidy Berry tallied six digs, Ainsley Thomas had five blocks and Shea Wilson notched four kills for the Eagles, who dropped the second match of a back-to-back.
Flagstaff plays its third match of the week 3 p.m. Saturday at home against Monument Valley, kicking off a three-match homestand that includes the first regular-season rivalry meeting with crosstown foe Coconino on Tuesday.
TITANS 3, PANTHERS 2
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Despite Wednesday night ending in a loss for her team, Panthers first-year head coach Serena Wallace came away from the match feeling good about the direction Coconino's moving in.
No. 21 Coconino lost a five-set, back-and-forth contest to the No. 7-ranked Arcadia Titans at Coconino High School, 25-18, 20-25, 25-13, 25-27, 15-12.
Coconino (3-6, 1-3 Grand Canyon) and Arcadia (10-1, 4-0 Desert Sky) were supposed to meet earlier in the season at Coconino, but a cyberattack on the school forced a rescheduling of the match between the 4A programs.
"We still have a lot to work on, but I can see greatness in their future," Wallace said.
On Tuesday, Coconino lost to Bradshaw Mountain in four sets to start its two-match slide. The fifth-ranked Bears (7-2, 4-1 Grand Canyon) won in Prescott Valley, 25-21, 25-18, 22-25, 25-22. Rikenna Curtis had a team-high 15 kills, Brooke Parker added 12 of her own to go with six digs for the Panthers.
Coconino's Megan Hicks tallied four blocks and as many service aces, with two of her rejections being all hers against the Bears. Elyce Palmer had nine digs for the Panthers on Tuesday.
Alianna Figueroa registered seven digs and Taya Fordyce was solid on serve-receive for Coconino on Tuesday. Parker hit .356.
Next up for Coconino is another challenge -- one that resides just across town. The Panthers will be in Flagstaff's War Memorial Gymnasium Tuesday, Oct. 8, for a 6 p.m. match.