GILBERT — A Southern Arizona girls volleyball team hasn’t won a state title in 20 years and, despite two local teams advancing to the Division II state semifinals, the drought will go on for at least one more year.
Ironwood Ridge knows all too well the feeling of what could have been. For Tucson High, it was its first time feeling the sting of coming up short after both teams lost in straight sets Saturday at Gilbert Mesquite High School.
Trailing No. 3 Phoenix Sunnyslope 17-11 in the first set, second-seeded I-Ridge rallied to tie the match at 20 before allowing the Vikings to run away with the final five points.
The Nighthawks (35-8) didn’t fare much better in the second set, letting an early lead slip away once again, as Sunnyslope extended its lead to 2-0 with the 25-19 win.
Sunnyslope took the lead in the third set 11-10 and never trailed again on its way to a 25-18 win.
“We made too many unforced errors in a championship-type match,” I-Ridge coach Bill Lang said.
Struggling most of the match to find places to score points against Sunnyslope, senior Mykaela Hammer led the way for the Nighthawks with 15 kills while junior Aunesty Jantz finished with eight.
Later Saturday, the best season in No. 5 Tucson High’s history came to an end at the hands of top-seeded Gilbert Campo Verde.
Tucson (38-3) pushed the Coyotes to extra points in each of the first two sets, but lost 27-25 and 29-27. The Badgers then lost the final set 25-14.
“The girls played their hearts out,” Tucson coach Wendy Escarcega-Parra said. “We fought ’til the end.”