The Flagstaff Eagles like to be driven by their goals.
"I think a big theme for this season has been goal-setting, and if we keep it up going into the next match we'll be successful," said Lydia Miller, who notched a double-double for the Eagles Tuesday to help her team cruise to a victory in the first round of the 4A Conference state volleyball tournament.
Miller had 20 kills and 15 digs, Tara Brain and Theresa Palacios combined for 15 blocks and the fifth-seeded Eagles cruised to a 25-10, 25-16, 25-9 win over the No. 12 Shadow Mountain Matadors in Flagstaff's War Memorial Gymnasium.
With Shadow Mountain's leader in kills and blocks out of the lineup, Flagstaff never suffered a scared on Halloween night and won its sixth straight match. The Eagles set the tone early, never trailing in the first set that started with them leading 9-2.
"I think we came out strong and in the second set was a little flat, but then we came back fired-up for the last set. Our goal was to keep the under 10 in the last set," Miller said.
State leaders in blocking, Brain ended her night with eight and Palacios added seven. Brain also notched seven kills.
In the second set, Brain helped prevent the Matadors from picking up any steam as the teams traded side-outs. The junior middle blocker tied the set twice on consecutive kills before her team started pulling away thanks to an 8-1 run that started with the teams knotted up at 12. Just before the surge stopped, Taylor White and Brain combined for a block, giving the Eagles a 19-13 advantage.
"I thought the girls came in and were very methodical about going through the match," said Eagles head coach Beth Haglin. "They did all the things we practiced on well -- we covered tips, roll shots, everything. It just seemed like we were at the right place at the right time most of the time."
Flagstaff will now set its sights on No. 4-seeded Sunrise Mountain, which topped No. 13 Higley in four sets Tuesday in the first round.
Eagles libero Hutton Hagerman, who had 25 digs for the Eagles, gave the Matadors fits while she was at the service line. The junior collected three aces and helped her team go on several runs throughout the night. Toward the end of the opening set, Flagstaff held a 18-6 lead thanks to a 7-0 run with Hagerman at the line.
"She dug everything up, and serving, she's just got a wicked serve, so it was neat to see. It just drops off the table," Haglin said of her libero, who played her first-ever postseason match.
Brooklyn Quick was also a force at the line, coming away from the first-round match with two aces to go with eight digs and four blocks. At the line during the third-set 5-0 run that helped Flagstaff pull away, Quick sent her serves just over the top of the net and she provided Miller with two straight assists to start the run. She also put up 36 assists.
Maile McSwain came off the bench for the Eagles and contributed four digs, and White had five kills and nine digs.
Flagstaff heads to Peoria for the quarterfinals round, which is set to take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
"The bottom line, what I tell my girls is that number one, we have to set goals to improve every single practice -- so tomorrow at practice we want to improve," Haglin said. "Then we want to get to the floor and take care of our 30x30 square, and if we can do that, the sky's the limit. Trying to set goals and move forward."
Last season, the Eagles fell in the quarterfinals at home as the No. 3 seed to sixth-seeded Salpointe Catholic, the reigning champs.