Originally published Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 11:11p.m.

PRESCOTT VALLEY — The energy was high. The stakes were a little higher. But the bragging rights? Well, they belong to Bradshaw Mountain, at least for now.

Any time Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain face off head-to-head, spectators can expect an intense and dramatic battle between these two rival schools. Thursday’s volleyball game was no different as the Bears made a huge statement by sweeping the Badgers in an ultra-competitive region opener, one that had everybody in the gym on the edge of their seats.

by Aaron Valdez

“It’s a big win and it was exciting,” said Bradshaw Mountain head coach Karrie Platt. “I think both teams played well. They have some big bangers and our girls played good defense and just executed when they needed to.”

Heading into the match, both team’s boasted 2-1 records and were looking to build upon that momentum in the first Grand Canyon game of the season. The tension in the air was palpable and the big-game jitters were all too real, even for the Bears, who are usually a calm and collected team.

Despite the game ending in straight sets, Prescott battled tough and kept Bradshaw Mountain on its toes. The reoccurring theme for the night was that the Badgers were actually the ones to pounce out to early leads in each set, but as soon as the Bears got settled in, there was no looking back.

Mailani Manuel was big time for the Bears as the senior OH torched the Badgers’ defense every chance she got and finished the game with 15 kills and seven digs. While Manuel might have been the player of the game, Platt said the play of the game came from senior MH Peyton Bradshaw, who made a face-planting save in front of the Bears’ student section to keep a rally alive, which led to the wining point in the first set.

“I still think the play of the game was Peyton’s save to end the first set,” Platt said. “I feel like that set the tone for the rest of the match.”

And Platt was pretty much right because as soon as the Bears secured the 25-17 win in the first set, they managed to gain full control of the match. Despite the Badgers putting up a gritty effort, they eventually fell in the second set 25-18 and in the third 25-21, even after going on a little run in that final set to level the score at 14.

Poetically, Manuel made the match-winning kill when sophomore S Nicole Shaver set her up perfectly on the left side of the net, allowing her to make a thunderous spike that was too hot to handle for Prescott DS Chloe Carr. Bears’ senior OH Jordyn Moser was as steady as ever, pitching in with nine kills and six digs while senior S McKell Clifford finished with 11 assists and 10 digs.

by Aaron Valdez

“We wanted to prove that this is our house,” Manuel said on the Bears’ game plan. “We just beat Prescott last year and so we knew that we had to beat them again … But I thought we did so good. We came in confident, we knew what we had to do, we were preparing for this since yesterday and we just knew that we had to get the job done.”

Even in defeat, Prescott’s first-year head coach Courtney Adams lauded the Bradshaw Mountain squad, especially Platt who is also in her first year at the helm.

“I think they did really well,” Adams said. “They were coming from the same place we were with a new coach and a different dynamic that they’re working with. But I think both teams came out with a lot of intensity and wanted to work hard for their coaches and they just happened to come out on top.”

Platt shared similar praise and said she sees much potential in Adams and the Badgers, who they will meet again during the regular-season finale on Monday, Oct. 28.

“I think they’ve got a lot of talent. I think she’s doing a good job and they’ll be fine,” Platt said. “They’ll work through whatever bugs they got and I think they’ll be able to pull it together and next time we play them, it will be another battle.”

UP NEXT

Bradshaw Mountain (3-1, Grand Canyon 1-0) will hit the road to face Mingus on Tuesday, Sept. 17 while Prescott (2-2, Grand Canyon 0-1) will head to Westwood High School to compete in the Tournament of Champions. The Badgers will open the invitational against St. Mary’s on Friday, Sept. 13.

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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Bradshaw Mountain volleyball shakes hands with Prescott before their game on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior OH Jordyn Moser prepares to serve in a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior MH Peyton Bradshaw celebrates after scoring a point in a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Prescott senior DS Kendall Gisi directs her teammates in a game against Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior OH Jordyn Moser (9) goes up for the spike as Prescott sophomore MB Kari Kasun (1) and junior S Ellie Fenderson (11) go for the block in a game on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior OH Mailani Manuel (8) goes up for the spike as Prescott junior OH Kira Riely (6) and sophomore MB Kari Kasun (1) go for the block on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Prescott senior OH Sammy Spangler (left) goes up for the kill as Bradshaw Mountain sophomore OH Abigail Platt (11) and senior MH Peyton Bradshaw go for the block during a game on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Prescott Volleyball celebrate after scoring a point during a game against Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain volleyball's bench after the Bears scored a point during a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Prescott junior OH Kate Radavich (12) confides with her teammates during a game against Bradshaw Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain junior L Tristan Bangs walks off the court for a substitution during a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain volleyball head coach Karrie Platt (right) high-fives senior MH McKyrie Herb during a timeout in a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior MH Sydney Rittershaus (12) prepares for a Prescott serve during a game on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior MH Peyton Bradshaw (4) celebrates with her teammates after scoring a point during a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Prescott junior OH Kate Radavich (12) goes up for the spike as Bradshaw Mountain sophomore OH Abigail Platt (11) and senior MH Peyton Bradshaw (4) go for the block during a game on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain volleyball head coach Karrie Platt advises her team during a timeout in a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

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Bradshaw Mountain senior OH Mailani Manuel (right) schemes with senior OH Jordyn Moser (left) during a game against Prescott on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Bradshaw Mountain High School. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)