The young Catalina Foothills High School boys volleyball team jumped right into the fire Tuesday night.
The Falcons, who have won three straight 4A/5A-II state championships, opened their season against the defending 4A/5A-I state runner-up, Anthem Boulder Creek.
Host Foothills fell 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-15).
“We are a completely different team from what we were last year and the year before that,” Foothills coach David Thistle said. “We are going to take our lumps early, especially playing against a very competitive team like Boulder.”
After winning the first two games fairly easily, Boulder Creek jumped to a 13-2 lead. Foothills chipped away with a 12-7 run to cut the lead to 20-15 before falling.
“In that third game we battled a little bit and that’s good to see especially from our younger guys,” Thistle said. “I’m more concerned on how we finish then how we start the season. I think we learned a lot from ourselves tonight.”
Foothills lost three starting seniors from last year.
Despite that, the idea of winning a fourth consecutive state title is in the back of the players’ minds. It’s just not a focal point.
“That can’t be our focus right now,” said Thistle. “We have way too much to worry about; we have way too much to work on.
“If we take care of the little things in practice, we continue to work hard. We continue to play one point at a time, one match at a time. Everything else will fall into place. But it’s up to us to outwork the other team and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Andy Magill had 30 assists and four digs for Foothills; Garrett Voge had nine kills.