Rinse, repeat? Teraya Sigler, Kendal Murphy lead Horizon volleyball’s title defense

Horizon sophomore and outside hitter, Teraya Sigler, celebrates after scoring a huge point during the Huskies’ match against Cactus Shadows on Thursday, October 20, 2022. (Photo by Brooklyn Hall/Cronkite News)

Horizon senior and outside hitter, Kendal Murphy, reacts after hitting a strong serve to give Horizon the lead against Cactus Shadows in the first set. Murphy recorded 21 total kills in this game against the Falcons. (Photo by Brooklyn Hall/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE – After spiking and killing the ball in a drill at practice, Horizon High School volleyball player Teraya Sigler let out a big cheer and ran into the team huddle to high-five and embrace her teammates.

One of the loudest players on the courts, and never shy to crack a joke or smile, Sigler has made an instant impact at Horizon after transferring from Phoenix Country Day High School this year.

After dominating at the 2A level, she moved to 5A along with five other transfers to create a new-look squad for the Huskies, who begin their quest next week to repeat as 5A state champions. For Sigler, making the jump in competition allows her to improve against tougher opponents and take what she learns in games back to practice.

“At 2A, you have to get better a lot during practices and not while you’re playing. I feel like volleyball is a sport where you get better in games. And you get better experiences in games to be able to practice,” Sigler said. “Here, every practice is a battle to just get better. And then games are even harder because you play girls that are better than you, you play girls that are older than you and you play girls that have an all-around experience of playing just good volleyball.”

Last season at Phoenix Country Day, Sigler led the team to win its first 2A state championship. Sigler also led the division in kills with 392 and led the state in hitter percentage at .542. This season at Horizon, Sigler is averaging 4.5 kills per set and had her biggest game yet against Notre Dame Prep, a top contender for the 5A championship. With 24 kills in the match, Sigler continues to be dominant for the Huskies on the outside. And she isn’t alone.

Senior outside hitter Kendal Murphy continues to be consistent this season after leading the championship Huskies in 2021. She has 396 total kills this season, eclipsing her total from a year ago. In the final three games of last season, Murphy had an impressive 45 kills and finished sixth in the conference in total kills (362), forming a dominant duo with senior outside hitter Taylor Johnson. This year, the Huskies boast a triple threat with Murphy taking Siegler under her wing.

“It’s just that perfect balance of no matter where we both are on the court, the setters know that they can go to either of us at any time,” Murphy said. “If I’m struggling, she will pick up the load. If she’s struggling here, I’ll pick up the load. We just work so well together, because we’re very much similar in the way that we play and our mindsets and everything.”

Before Sigler came to Horizon, Murphy had heard her name and seen her play in club volleyball, creating mutual respect before they took the court as teammates. The two have many attributes in common, including their constant hard work and ability to have each other’s back on the court.

Horizon head coach, Valorie McKenzie, talks with her team during a set break. Coach Mckenzie has been the Head Girls Volleyball coach at Horizon since the school opened in 1980, making this her 43rd season with the Huskies. (Photo by Brooklyn Hall/Cronkite News)

“It’s they’re 100% effort all the time, whether it’s practice or matches, they pursue balls, they work hard and transition,” said Horizon coach Valorie Mckenzie, who has led the team since the school opened in 1980. “They’re great teammates, they’re great leaders. And they never, they never slack. And that’s why they’re so good.”

Sigler and Murphy look to push the 11-3 Huskies toward another postseason run. Despite falling to Norte Dame Prep in their second meeting last week, Horizon bounced back to beat Cactus Shadows last Thursday.

“We really need to work hard in every aspect of the game. So we need to be aggressive on serves, we need to go hard on defense pursuing every ball,” Mckenzie said. “Our offense needs to be smart. So in just every aspect of our game, we just have to keep getting better, and try to get a little bit more consistency.”

Horizon faces off against Desert Mountain and Chaparral Tuesday and Thursday to complete the regular season. As of Monday, Horizon is in a six-team tie for second place in the 5A division and would play the No. 15 seed on Nov. 3.

“I think right now we’re working on playing together,” Sigler said. “And there’s no ‘I’ in the team. It’s about staying together knowing that we win as a team, we lose a team.”

Madison Thacker mad-uh-sun thack-er (she/her/hers)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Madison Thacker expects to graduate in December 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Thacker has interned as a reporter with The Arizona Republic.

Brooklyn Hall BROOK-lyn hall (she/her)
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Brooklyn Hall expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Hall has interned with the Amarillo Sod Poodles and is currently interning with the Arizona Diamondbacks on their DBTV crew.