The Parker Broncs volleyball team is headed for the state tournament. With a 3-1 win over the Safford Bulldogs Tuesday, Nov. 10, in a state tournament play-in match, the Broncs qualified for the Arizona Interscholastic Association State 3A Tournament, the first round of which will be held Friday, Nov. 14 at Marcos De Niza High School in Tempe.

The Broncs were ranked 12th in the state in the 3A conference coming into this play-in game, while the Bulldogs were ranked 21st.

The Broncs won the first set, 25-16. At one point, the Broncs were ahead, 11-3. The Bulldogs kept pace with them the rest of the way, but they couldn’t overcome Parker’s early lead.

The Bulldogs showed they belonged in the post-season in the second set. They looked impressive as they won, 25-10. After taking an 8-7 lead, the Bulldogs never looked back as they outscored the Broncs the rest of the way, 17-3.  

In the third set, the Broncs won, 25-10. This included 10 unanswered points to end the set. The fourth set was close at the start, but then the Broncs jumped into the lead and held it the rest of the way for a 25-12 win.

Parker Assistant Coach Dan Maya said this was a “good win.”

“It feels good to qualify for state again,” he said.

Maya they knew coming into this game the Bulldogs would be tougher than their 4-4 record in the 3A South Central and 4-8 overall record would appear to indicate.

“They played a tough schedule,” Maya said.

Maya said all the girls contributed to their 2020 season, but he had particular praise for team captain Demi Durham. He said Durham kept the team together in the summer when they couldn’t practice in the Parker High gym due to the coronavirus pandemic. They played sand volleyball in the town’s parks and worked on their skills.

Maya also praised Tallia Robeldo for some tough play at the end of the play-in match.

As of Nov. 11, the brackets for the state tournament had not been set. Maya said they would likely be set Thursday or Friday. That’s when the Broncs will know who and when they’ll be playing on Saturday.

Three other 3A West teams also qualified for play-in games. The Yuma Catholic Shamrocks, who were the region regular season champions and were ranked No. 10 in the state, defeated another 3A West team, the Tonopah Valley Phoenix, 3 sets to 0. The Phoenix were ranked No. 23. The Shamrocks also advance to the state tournament.

The fourth team, the Bourgade Catholic Golden Eagles (No. 18) lost to Payson (No. 15), 3 sets to 0.

Here are the scores from the other state tournament play-in games from Nov. 10:

Empire 3, Chino Valley 0

Sabino 3, Eastmark 1

Blue Ridge 3, Winslow 1

Tanque Verde 3, Benjamin Franklin 1

Pusch Ridge 3, Show Low 0

The following eight schools automatically qualified for the state tournament and were not required to hold a play-in game. They are listed in alphabetical order:  Arizona College Prep, American Leadership Academy-Gilbert North, Fountain Hills, Gilbert Christian, Northwest Christian, Snowflake, Thatcher and Valley Christian.

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