For the second time in the three seasons since consolidating into one division, a Southern Arizona boys volleyball team failed to make it out of the second round of the state tournament.
Only one of six local teams — No. 12 Ironwood Ridge — won in the opening round, beating No. 21 Catalina Foothills 3-0.
The Nighthawks joined No. 8 Sahuaro and No. 2 Cienega, which both had first-round byes, in the second round before all three lost to Phoenix schools later in the day.
Cienega, which finished undefeated in section play, was the only team to put up a fight, going back and forth with No. 15 Gilbert. In the end, though, the Bobcats fell in five sets to the Tigers (25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-8).
Winners of 20 straight heading into the match, the Bobcats were tied with Gilbert 5-5 in the final set, before a 10-3 run by the Tigers ended the match.
“That was two very competitive teams playing volleyball,” said Bobcats coach Heather Mott. “A couple little things one way or the other, and they could have easily been on the other side of the score.”
Senior outside hitter Alex Martinez finished with 23 of the Bobcats’ 50 kills.
I-Ridge snapped its 10-game winning streak in round two, losing in three sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-15) to No. 5 Chandler Hamilton.
It was the Nighthawks’ fourth loss to the Huskies this season.
All three sets were tied midway through before Hamilton pulled away. I-Ridge coach Bill Lang said Hamilton is just a better team with three committed collegiate players.
Sahuaro, the only other team to host a second-round match, was swept by No. 9 Gilbert Perry. The first two sets finished 25-23 apiece before Perry won the third 25-15.
Coach Sandy Novak said several mistakes and poor passing in the final set doomed the Cougars.
No. 13 Rincon/University, No. 18 Catalina, No. 22 Sierra Vista Buena and No. 23 Marana were all eliminated in the first round, in addition to Foothills.