Last fall, when Salpointe Catholic and Ironwood Ridge faced off in the Game of the Year, it was the Lancers who got to spoil the Nighthawks’ chance of a perfect season.
Things will be a little different this time around.
While I-Ridge (5-3) lost that game and went on to win the Division II state title, the Nighthawks won’t be able to do the same this year when they host Salpointe (8-0) on Friday night. Instead they must snap a two-game skid by beating the undefeated Lancers to even have a shot at making the state playoffs.
While the chances of I-Ridge winning seem slim, crazier things have happened. The Nighthawks were the most recent Southern Arizona team to beat Salpointe when they did so in 2008. Since then, the Lancers have dominated local competition.
While that game is a sure bet to be wild, here’s a look at what else to watch this week, including the first state tournament action of the season:
Girls volleyball: Sahuaro is ranked 29th in the Division II seedings and is a long shot to make the state tournament, despite being 10-3 in regular-season matches.
However, senior captain Jamie Holliday and the Cougars could slip in if they win their last four matches, which are all against teams in the top 20.
Sahuaro (20-11) will host No. 18 Cienega at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in a must-win match if it has any hope of staying alive. Two days later, the Cougars will travel to Tucson High to face the sixth-ranked Badgers.
Sahuaro closes out the season against No. 13 Salpointe Catholic and No. 8 Rincon/University next week.
Football: Marana was likely knocked out of the state playoff picture after Friday night’s loss at Canyon del Oro, but the Tigers can still play for pride and try to be a spoiler.
Catalina Foothills (6-2) travels to Marana this week in a must-win game to stay alive for a Division III playoff berth.
Rhett Rodriguez and the Falcons have won their last two games by a combined 109-7 but must win their last two and hope to earn an at-large bid.
Marana (4-4) was ranked 29th heading into last week’s game so it is likely even a 6-4 final record would keep them out of the state tournament.
Boys golf: The Division II boys golfers get the honor of officially kicking off the fall state tournaments, which will be going on for the next few weeks.
All the action for golf will be at Antigua Golf Course in Laveen and each division will have a two-day, 36-hole championship round, starting with the Division II boys on Friday and Saturday and followed by the Division II girls Monday and Tuesday of next week.
On the boys side, CDO, Foothills and Salpointe all have a legitimate shot at returning to Tucson on Saturday with a state title.