Citizen Staff Writers and Freelance
HIGH SCHOOL ROUNDUP
If there was any question whether Sahuaro was ready for the postseason, the Cougars answered Monday with a dominating win over Flowing Wells.
Sahuaro, the top seed in the Class 4A/5A Division II boys volleyball tournament, used fast starts in all three games to beat up on No. 16 Flowing Wells 3-0 (25-15, 25-7, 25-20).
“We came out fired up,” said Sahuaro coach Sandy Novak. “The seniors know this is their last shot.”
Sahuaro hosts No. 8 Cienega at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 4A/5A-II quarterfinals. Cienega swept Palo Verde 3-0 in Monday’s opening round.
In Monday’s win at Sahuaro, the Cougars jumped out to 14-3 leads in each of the first two games, trying to quickly erase any thoughts visiting Flowing Wells had of pulling off the first-round upset.
“(As the No. 1 seed) we know that we are the team with the target on our backs,” Novak said. “We have to play like we can handle it and we can.”
Although the score in the third game was much closer, Sahuaro was never in jeopardy of losing.
“We passed really well, which set up our offense,” Novak said. “We had some big kills.”
Dillon Kennedy finished with seven kills to lead Sahuaro 32-3.
Sahuaro had three others – Kyle Tatum, Scott Salerno and Bryce Brucker – with six kills.
Mitchell Toone and Kyle Tatum added 15 assists.
No. 3 Catalina 3, No. 14 Phoenix Barry Goldwater 0 (25-12, 25-10, 25-13): At Catalina, Marcellious Gibbs made the most of his first start of the season.
Gibbs had 12 kills as the Trojans defended their home court and advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinals; they will host No. 6 Tempe McClintock at 6:30 p.m.
“I thought we played well and handled business,” said Gibbs, a sophomore. “If we had a tough situation, our setter Jared (Simte) got us out of it. . . . If we need the kill, I’m there for the support to get a kill or two.”
During the second game, Gibbs picked up three straight kills and capped a 7-0 run, putting the Trojans up 18-7.
“He’s really been working hard the past two weeks in practice,” Catalina coach Heather Moore-Martin said. “With how good Marcellious was playing, I couldn’t keep him off the floor. He kept working really hard in the middle and getting up for the quick (shots). He earned a spot (on the starting rotation) and was able to retain it.”
Catalina (35-3) beat Goldwater 3-1 earlier in the season, and never felt threatened in Monday’s match.
“I was nervous because it was the first round of state,” said Simte, one of the team’s four seniors, who had 30 assists. “We did a really good job of establishing our middles and once we got that going, we got our outside hitting going. (Gibbs) is our secret weapon in state.”
Goldwater was forced into several errors, allowing Catalina to make several big runs and control the tempo. Catalina also served up 10 aces.
“We weren’t into it and got lazy,” Goldwater hitter T.J. Tallent said. “They got a lot of aces on us and killed us on passing.”
Class 4A/5A Division I
The Salpointe boys volleyball team controlled its match against No. 13 Chandler Basha in the first round of the Class 4A/5A Division I state tournament.
The fourth-seeded Lancers won 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-20) and host No. 5 Gilbert Mesquite at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
Class 1A/2A Boys Golf
Pusch Ridge’s Lou Christensen shot an even-par 72 (third place) and Immaculate Heart’s Ian Patterson fired a 74 (tied for fifth), and both are in the top five heading into Tuesday’s final-round action of the 1A/2A boys golf championship at the Cave Creek Golf Course.
Staff writer Raymond Suarez contributed to this article.