Tucson High’s girls volleyball team went perfect over the weekend to win the two-day, 16-team TUSD Invitational. Along the way, the Badgers helped erase the memory of their season-opening, five-set loss to Ironwood Ridge.
Tucson proved to be too much for Cienega in Saturday’s final at Cholla High School, defeating the Bobcats 25-20, 25-15.
Badgers senior captain Summer Avery had 25 kills and sophomore Bailey Gin added 21 assists.
“I’m so proud of our defense and our setters,” Avery said. “They are doing a great job of setting up hitters who want to put points away.”
With fellow captain and senior Ana Aguilar and a pair of 6-foot-4-inch players in Mia Sokolowski and Mariah Rodriguez, teams may have a tough time focusing on any one player.
Sokolowski, also a senior, finished second on the team with 16 kills. Aguilar was third with nine.
Tucson was a playoff team last year and is considered one of the favorites to make a run at the Division II title this season after moving down from Division I.
Cienega’s Kassidy Johnson and Whitney Nesbitt combined for 10 of their team’s 12 kills.
Although the outcome was not what Bobcats coach Heather Mott would of liked, she was encouraged by what she saw from her young team against top competition this weekend.
“We have girls that are getting better exponentially by the play,” said Mott. “It’s not even by the day or by the game, it’s by the play. I think by midseason things are going to start to gel.”
With senior Taylor Reiter leading the way, Rincon/University, last year’s TUSD champions, took third with a sweep of Sahuaro (25-13, 25-15).
The only team to take a set from Tucson, the Rangers missed out on a chance at the finals, dropping the extra set 15-10.
“After winning last year we came in with a lot of confidence,” said Rincon coach Nic Thiltges. “It was kind of a reality check for the girls, that hey, there are some other good teams in town.”
Canyon del Oro topped Sabino for fifth place, and Catalina edged Cholla for seventh.