S.D.O. denies Ladybirds’ comeback

By Pete Mohr | November 19, 2008

BARRETT GYM – Nov. 13. As I drove homeward from the #4 Lady Falcons’ heartbreaking five-game loss (18-25, 24-26, 25-15, 25-16, 12-15) to the #5 Sandra Day O’Connor Lady Eagles, one of my Waylon Jennings favorites jumped into my head: “It’s not supposed to end this way…” But it did, in one of the hardest-fought, most exciting volleyball matches ever played at Cactus Shadows.

girls volleyballAnd so, the Lady Eagles advanced to the State Semis, and the Lady Falcons went home, unconsolable by their parents, their student friends – and this writer-fan. In time, hopefully, they’ll remember their 12-0 Desert Sky Championship that included two victories over arch-rival Chaparral. Congratulations, Ladies – and to Head Coach Tom Gardner and Assistant Coach Emily Eichmann – on another great season.

After easily dispatching Lake Havasu in the previous evening’s 1st Round, the Lady Falcons unexpectedly found themselves down 0-2 to O’Connor. “Coach Tom” to his team: “I told ‘em their season was squarely on the line. Don’t leave anything on the court!”

And they didn’t, fighting back to decisively win Games #3 and #4. The home crowd was pumped! The LadyBirds won the service toss; and as the Lady Eagles, stunned, filed past the scorer’s table (where I had slipped in late from the Cross Country Awards Banquet), I’d have “bet the house” that the Lady Falcons were going to dominatingly win the fifth game. Didn’t happen.

The Lady Eagles won a “side-out” on the first point; and, like Popeye gulping down his re-energizing can of spinach, the O’Connor team came alive! The LadyBirds would never lead by more than a point; and then, down 9-12, they clawed back to 11-12. Time out, SDO. 11-13, 11-14. Down to match point! Kelsey Janke serving, 12-14. 13-14 on a great block; but hold on! The referee ruled that the Lady Falcon blocker had touched the net! 12-15. Gimme a little Al McCoy: “Heartbreak ho-tel!” Game, match, season.

Four nights later, I still can’t bee-leeve it!

Photo: ALL-REGION HONOREES: (front, l-r) 1st Team: junior Kelsey Janke, “Player of the Year,” senior Co-Captain, Whitney Wilde. (Back, l-r) Honorable Mention: sophomores Summer Anderson, Jordan Smith; 2nd Team: junior Sarah Grothe.
Photo by Pete Mohr

A.D. Dolezal: “The job I’ve always wanted”

By Pete Mohr | November 19, 2008

CSHS – Effective Monday, Oct. 20, William A. (“Bill”) Dolezal, 38, most recently Assistant Principal, Desert Arroyo Middle School, moved just around the corner to become assistant principal and athletic director at Cactus Shadows. He volunteered to Sonoran News his recognition that he’s stepping into “big shoes to fill,” being those of Monica Barrett, now retired after 18 dedicated years at CSHS.

Dolezal is no stranger to CCUSD and Cactus Shadows, first accepting a teaching position (7th grade Science) at Sonoran Trails Middle School at the start of the 1999-2000 school year and simultaneously coaching the JV Basketball Lady Falcons.

The girl’s basketball community at Cactus Shadows rightfully credits Dolezal as the principal architect of the now-successful program, of which he was head coach from 2001-2006. In his final two seasons Dolezal guided the Lady Falcons to successive “Final Four” appearances before accepting an assistant principalship at Dysart Elementary School. At the start of the current school year, Dolezal returned to the Desert Foothills as Assistant Principal, DAMS.

Dolezal family“I loved waking up every morning and looking forward to going to work at Desert Arroyo,” he told Sonoran News, “but being an athletic director is the position I’ve always wanted – the opportunity to assist and help grow an athletic program for a school and its community.”
CSHS Acting Principal Dr. Donna Lewis is equally enthused to have Dolezal join Assistant Principals Rick Swearingen and Jackie Beasley as a member of her administration’s leadership team. Dr. Lewis: “I confidently believe that we have an exemplary team leading academics, athletics and school-oriented activities at Cactus Shadows. Bill will be a valuable member of our team.”

Dolezal emphasized his gratitude to Monica Barrett. “She has worked tirelessly for Cactus Shadows; and by leaving the athletic directorship in good order, she makes my transition an easier one.”

A native Chicagoan, Dolezal grew up in southern California, before moving to Ridgefield, Conn. as a high school sophomore. He graduated from the University of California at Irvine in 1993. A six-month post-graduation trip through Africa “reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in education.” His teaching certificate was earned in 1995 from Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn.

As a teaching intern Dolezal met the lovely (and talented) music teacher, Karen Ungvary. They married in 1996, moving to the Valley in July 1999. They proudly parent daughters Sierra, 12, a 6th grader at DAMS, and Akayla, 8, a 3rd grader at Grayhawk Elementary, where Karen teaches K-6 music.

Having known “Coach Bill” and his family since 2001, I can assure readers that he is the right man … at the right time … for Falcon athletics.

Congratulations, Bill and Karen!

Photo by Pete Mohr