High school volleyball: Sahuaro captures Warrior title again

2011-04-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:44:32Z High school volleyball: Sahuaro captures Warrior title againMichael J. Craven Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 17, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Host Pueblo High School might save time and a few bucks by buying championship plaques for the boys volleyball Warrior Invitational in bulk - with "Sahuaro" engraved on most of them.

The way things are going, the hardware wouldn't go to waste.

Sahuaro won the tournament for the third time in five years Saturday, beating Rincon/University 2-0 in the championship match. Set scores were 25-19 and 25-22.

The Cougars finished the weekend 6-0 after disposing of Sunnyside, Desert Christian and Canyon del Oro on Friday, then taking down Flowing Wells, Tucson High and Rincon in Saturday's gold bracket.

After losing in last year's semifinals, the Cougars were hungry for redemption.

"Coming back from last year's third place, we felt like we had something to prove and that we should be able to take first place," setter Dallis Shingler said.

All of Sahuaro's wins were sweeps, a stat the Cougars (8-4) refused to let be marred in the title match.

Consecutive Sahuaro errors in the first set allowed Rincon (8-5) to pull within a point at 18-17, but the Cougars, behind a couple of nasty kills from junior outside hitter Eric Stark, closed out the set on a 7-2 run.

The Cougars blew a 20-14 lead in the second, allowing Rincon to tie the set at 21 apiece, but again Sahuaro finished strong to prevail.

The teams also battled early in the season, a three-set win for Sahuaro back on March 10, but this latest duel was more of a pre-cursor to the state tournament, set to begin on May 9.

"I think we came into to this tournament thinking that we had to prove that we're a team to contend with," Shingler said. "We felt like it was another chance to prove we can play with the big boys."

The really big boys, Catalina (12-0) and Catalina Foothills (9-2), weren't present at Pueblo, but they'll be huge forces for Sahuaro to contend with in the postseason. The Cougars lost to Foothills in five sets earlier this season and to Catalina in three.

"We got better and we just wanted to polish the little things, maybe make a few things better before we go into the state tournament," Sahuaro coach Sandy Novak said.

"It was a good opportunity for us."

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