Rincon/University never trailed in a 25-20, 25-18, 25-16 sweep of Yuma Kofa to advance to the quarterfinals of the Division I state tournament.
Coach Alysha Ramirez said only two of her players had won a state playoff game before Tuesday night's victory.
"For 13 of my girls, they'd never won a state playoff game so this was huge for them," Ramirez said. "And to have that home-seed advantage was huge.
"They wanted to be here, they wanted their fans here, and they've worked their butts off this season to get a hosting seed," Ramirez added. "Our team likes to be energetic and pumped up, so if there's a crowd there, that helps us when we need it, it's awesome."
Rincon's crowd had plenty of reason to stay loud throughout the match. Then it went wild when Kofa couldn't return a block from Rincon sophomore Emily Singleton for match point.
The closest Kofa came to taking a lead occurred in the first set, when the Kings scored four straight to tie it at 11. But the Rangers (25-11) led by at least one point the rest of the way.
Sophomore Taylor Reiter led Rincon with five blocks and added nine kills.
She opened the second set with back-to-back kills before the Rangers went up 6-0.
Kofa managed to pull within one twice in that set, but then Rincon capped a 9-3 run with a kill by Reiter to win the set.
"I think what happened in the second set was we minimized our errors, and we worked together and just made it happen," Reiter said. "It feels like we were all on tonight, so they couldn't just key off one player."
The Rangers jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the third set. Kofa hit three straight points before Rincon went on another 10-2 run to take a 21-7 lead.
After Kofa scored six straight, Ramirez called a timeout to regroup. From there Rincon went on a 4-3 run to win.
The Rangers will travel to Phoenix Xavier on Thursday for the quarterfinals. Senior Molly Ragan, who led Rincon with 31 assists, hopes to keep the positive energy going.
"We just need to take that same mind-set in that we want to win," she said.
• No. 1 Scottsdale Notre Dame 3, No. 16 Cienega 0: In Scottsdale, despite 12 kills and three blocks from junior Stephanie Mendivil, the Bobcats lost in straight sets 25-16, 25-20, 25-19.
Lauren Parrott added 13 assists for the Bobcats in the loss, and Stephanie Stevens had three blocks to tie Mendivil for the team high.
Cienega finished 14-5 on the season.
• No. 3 Glendale Ironwood 3, No. 14 Sabino 0: In Glendale, the Sabercats (12-6) were eliminated in the opening round one year after advancing to the state semifinals.
The game scores were 25-12, 25-20, 25-17.
Hannah Rebb led Sabino with nine kills, and Alexis Macklin added six.
Macklin also had a team-high 12 digs, and Krista Boon added eight.
Courtney Spalt had 21 of the team's 25 assists.
• No. 5 Phoenix Sunnyslope 3, No. 12 Salpointe Catholic 0: In Phoenix, Sunnyslope eliminated the Lancers (13-5) in straight sets, winning 25-12, 25-22, 25-14.
• No. 7 Prescott 3, No. 10 Ironwood Ridge 0: In Prescott, Erin Hohenstein had 10 kills and nine digs, but the Nighthawks were bounced from postseason play.
Set scores were 25-20, 25-22, 25-21.
Chloe Heinemann had 35 assists for Ironwood Ridge.
• No. 8 Peoria Liberty 3, No. 9 Mountain View 0: In Peoria, the Lions eliminated the Mountain Lions 25-20, 25-23, 25-15. Mountain View finished 14-4.
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