Lady Vikes leave a legacy<br>
Williams High School Lady Vikings volleyball middle blocker No. 33, Kandice Zabala, had one of the best games of her career at the Nov. 5 first-round state playoff game versus No. 4 ranked Florence, according to coaches, who also said the team as a whole played their best game yet.
Left, Zabala launches an attack during the Lady Vikes first-ever win over St. John’s on Oct. 8.
“They played the best game they’ve ever played,” said Edes, despite the fact that Florence came out on top, sending the girls back home and ending the season.
Regionally, the Lady Vikes were tied with Mayer for third place, trailing behind first-place St. Johns and second-place Red Mesa. Mayer, however, was a no-show at the state playoffs.
Edes admitted that during pre-game warm ups, Williams looked promising enough to come away victors. When Florence hit the court, though, it was apparent both teams were in for a tough fight.
Florence won the first game of the match 25-15. Williams then bounced back in true Vikings fashion to take the second game in a 25-22 point-for-point scoring contest.
“Kandice (Zabala) played the best game of her career,” Edes announced, explaining that Zabala used her left-handed hitting to confuse the Florence players. “They didn’t know what to do with her.”
Generally, most right-handed hitters hit to the right and vise versa for left-handers. Lefty Kandice Zabala, however, was hitting to the right and catching Florence off guard with no help from their coach, who kept yelling, “She’s left-handed!”
Zabala racked up five kills and served one ace. A whopping 42 spikes were delivered between her and outside shooter Tami Edes — who had seven kills herself — with just over 75 percent landing in enemy territory, which were returned by Florence with little or no offense.
In the third game, Williams gave Florence more headaches until — after a time out at the crest of a 16-16 tie — the upset opposing team tied it together and sent the Lady Vikes back home 25-18.
“The real secret to why we were so competitive is that we played awesome defense,” Edes remarked, applauding the efforts of Michelle Barnes and Teri Stevens, with two ace serves each, for scrambling on every ball.
Williams only had one net serve — a previous problem the Lady Vikes seemed to have overcome — to Florence’s many, and coaches were proud of the way the girls stuck together as a team, keeping themselves in high spirits.
As for the season overall, coaches called it good, noting the ups and occasional downs, and are excited about next year’s prospects.
“I think they (Lady Vikes 2004 team) left a legacy for the Lady Vikes behind them, showing that the team can play at state and perform at state,” Edes said. “And it showed the importance of defense, which is something we’ll work on in the future.”
The players themselves seemed happy with the season as well. The mood after the season-ending Florence game was high and the players proud of themselves, even though the last games are usually more somber due to the fact that senior players don’t return the following year.
“I thought we did really well. That (Florence) was one of the best games of my four years here,” said Barnes, adding that she was delighted to see seniors stepping up their levels of play and the other team members improving greatly all year long.
Barnes also thanked coaches Edes and Joel Masson on behalf of the team for their inspiration.
The News would like to congratulate the Lady Vikes for a solid and entertaining season and looks forward seeing players again at the awards banquet.