High school volleyball: I-Ridge gets first win over Salpointe; Lancers' star hurt

2012-04-11T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:31:22Z High school volleyball: I-Ridge gets first win over Salpointe; Lancers' star hurtMichael J. Craven Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 11, 2012 12:00 am  • 

With two matches now complete between two of Southern Arizona's top boys volleyball teams, one thing remains unclear:

How would an Ironwood Ridge-Salpointe Catholic match play out if both squads were totally healthy?

The Nighthawks beat host Salpointe 3-0 on Tuesday night, however one of the Lancers' top players - outside hitter Billy Early - suffered a dislocated knee during a pre-game warm-up.

Early was sent to a local hospital, and there was no word Tuesday night on the injury's severity.

Ironwood Ridge coach Bill Lang called Early's injury "unfortunate."

"I'd like to see these two teams play with their full lineups," he said. Two weeks ago, a healthy Salpointe club hung a 3-1 win on the Nighthawks, who had recently lost starting setter Caleb Dalton to injury.

"The composure of this match changed significantly once Billy went out," Lang said.

"That guy is a fighter. We have a lot of respect for him."

Without Early, the pressure to score fell squarely on the shoulders of Lancers junior Jimmy Gehrels. Salpointe (the No. 6 team in the state) kept it relatively close in the first set, as Gehrels totaled five kills, but Ironwood Ridge (No. 2 in the state) emerged with a 25-21 win.

Ironwood Ridge (10-2) was even more in control during the second set, taking a 16-8 lead before winning 25-18.

By the time the third set rolled around, Salpointe (8-2) appeared deflated, and the Nighthawks rolled to a 25-9 win. The entire match took just 54 minutes.

As opposed to Salpointe, which has relied heavily on Early and Gehrels this season, Ironwood Ridge spreads the ball around a bit more, as it showed Tuesday.

Alec Sonderman led the Nighthawks with seven kills, Josh Petersen had six, Connor McCoy had five, and Kyle Monus and Logan Kelly had four apiece.

"Most teams in the state only have one or two hitters," Sonderman said. "We're a team of 14."

"I'll take my 14 guys up against one or two guys," Lang added.

Lang said the Nighthawks' win was the first over Salpointe in program history, which provided reason for some extra celebration after the match.

Needless to say, Salpointe coach Amy Johnson wasn't in support of their party.

"Would (this match) have been an issue if we had Billy?" Johnson asked. "No. Not at all. It would have been reversed."

Whether that's the case, the Nighthawks aren't worrying about it. They'll take the win and run with it.

"This shows how much we've improved from the beginning of the season," Sonderman said. "We're coming into the postseason as not just as another Tucson team, but as a real threat to the entire state.

"We're showing no signs of slowing down right now."

I-RIDGE 3

SALPOINTE 0

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Video

More videos

Wildcat football: A look at Oregon and USC

Find out why UA football's upcoming weeks are make or break.



Follow the Arizona Daily Star