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Blocks, 15-3 run grab momentum as Sahuaro wins




Trailing 15-4 in the second game of its match with Cienega on Thursday night, the Sahuaro boys volleyball team found itself at a crossroads.

After winning Game 1, Sahuaro knew it couldn’t let Cienega regain momentum in its home gym with a one-sided Game 2 win.

Instead, the Cougars used a 15-3 run to regain momentum and went on to sweep Cienega 3-0 (25-22, 28-26, 25-23).

“You can easily lose your focus and your intensity and we kept it up in that second game down 11 points,” said Sahuaro’s Colin Kennedy, who finished with eight kills and six blocks. “We said we were going to come back and win it and we did.”

Sahuaro coach Sandy Novak said defense helped turn Game 2 around.

“A couple of big blocks helped us do that,” she said. “It turned the momentum to our side. Volleyball is such a huge game of momentum and in that second game we didn’t have it at all, and we started getting it point by point. You can see the momentum swing to our side as we started to catch up and they started to panic.”

Sahuaro (No. 2) and Cienega (No. 3) were perched near the top of the Class 4A/5A power rankings heading into Thursday’s match.

“It gives us good momentum going into our final few weeks,” said Novak of the win. “We will have to play them in two weeks and we might end up playing them in the (state) tournament. It’s a good rivalry. It’s good for both teams, and it’s good for both schools.”

Kyle Tatum led Sahuaro with 11 kills and 23 assists. Andrew Christ led Cienega with 15 kills and 15 assists.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Cienega coach Tyler Taylor said. “Every game was within two or three points so I felt really good on how we competed tonight.”


Amphi took care of its home field as it shut out Catalina in a Class 4A-II Gila Region showdown Thursday afternoon.

Alan Sandoval pitched seven scoreless innings to help the Panthers get the 4-0 victory.

Sandoval struck out three and walked one.

Junior Brandon Kuhn hit a 2-run single in the third inning while teammate Martin Gradias, a sophomore, sealed it with an RBI single in the fifth.

Amphi is 9-12 overall, 4-3 in the Gila Region. Catalina is 16-6, 4-2 in league play.

Nogales 4, Cienega 0: Keith Zuniga struck out eight and threw a one-hitter to pick up the win on the road and draw even with Cienega for first place in the Class 4A-I Kino Region.

Cienega senior pitcher Seth Mejias-Brean struck out 11 in the loss.


Canyon del Oro senior pitcher Kenzie Fowler was one batter away from her second perfect game of the season when a bunt single by a Cholla hitter ended the bid.

Fowler struck out 16, including the next hitter after her perfect game bid was ended, in a 6-0 CDO win.

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