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Kelly-Ham duo has Nighthawks on the rise as regionals loom

He’s 6-feet-5 and could use a few more pounds on his wiry frame, but that’s the only possible catch to Zakary Kelly’s on-court presence.

The way the Ironwood Ridge senior haunts the volleyball net like a veteran, he must have been practically born with a ball in his hands.

Actually, Kelly, an outside hitter, began playing the sport last year and his development continues to amaze coach Bill Lang.

“He’s a late bloomer,” said Lang after Kelly registered 13 kills in a 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-17) homecourt victory against Cholla on Thursday.

“It was hard for him at the beginning. He was sick early this year and lost five pounds, but he has recovered well.”

Catching on quickly and being able to help the rangy Nighthawk frontline dominate rivals in the second part of the season has a lot to do with senior setter Sean Ham.

“We have developed trust and we know where the ball is going to be,” said Kelly of his setter. “He kind of quietly does the job.”

Ham had 31 assists and six kills Thursday night in his sneaky, effective way as the Nighthawks (14-9) were in trouble just twice. They yielded an early lead in the first game and had to rally from an 8-4 deficit in the third game. Ham served three crucial kills set like slow motion up and thunder down.

“I haven’t been as consistent as I should be,” Kelly said. “I had a couple of bad moves, but the way we can move the ball to the corner helps us.”

Lang calls it ball control.

“You can have the best guys, but it all depends on how we move it,” he said. “We’re going well now in time for the regionals next week.

“I guess you could say, yes, we have a dynamic front line.”

For more on high school sports, check out the Grammer School sports blog.

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This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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