Volleyball reaches semifinals, loses to Corona


Annie Brown

Senior setter Madison Beasley serving the ball against Queen Creek High

The Pumas season came to a halt when a playoff loss to Corona del Sol ended the team’s hopes of a state title. The top seeded Pumas were eliminated from competition after a three sets to two loss in the semifinals. The season comes to an end with a record of 32-4-1 and one set away from a state championship berth. “This program just keeps getting better and better.” Head Coach Fred Mann said.

The team came out of the gate with a commanding two sets to none advantage before the Aztecs stormed back to get the win and advance to the title match. It is the second consecutive year the team has been eliminated one game away from the state championship.

This season marked the best record in Puma volleyball history as the team was ranked the best team in the state the majority of the year. “We’ve kept improving as a program.” Mann said, “The highest we had ever been ranked in previous years was fifth and this year we finished first in state and twentieth in the country.” This was also the first time a Perry volleyball team went into the playoffs as the top seed in the bracket.

The Pumas cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs with clean sweeps over Westwood and Queen Creek. The Pumas swept both Basha and Xavier Prep in the regular season while also taking two out of three from Hamilton. “It’s really really hard to beat Xavier twice and to beat Hamilton twice and to beat Basha twice but this is what that team did.” Mann said.

The roster consisted of a senior heavy lineup the majority of which will go on to play volleyball at the college level. “That just shows that we have improved.” Mann said, “A few years ago nobody was signing.”

The team had eight players from this year’s team sign their National Letter of Intent to play at colleges and universities from California to the Carolinas. Three of these seniors earned All-Premier Region 1st team with Matea Suan, Madison Beasley, and Grace Doyle representing the Pumas.

The Pumas will rely on three returning players in Jillian Hatch, Tatum Stall, and Sian Richardson to take on an expanded leadership role next season. As well as having some pretty big shoes to fill from the seniors heading off to college this year.

The program hopes to finally make it to the state finals next year after the last two seasons of having it just out of reach to finally bring home a trophy from the state championships.