The Rincon/University boys volleyball team ended the regular season on a high note, outlasting Catalina Foothills 3-2 in five sets to win the rubber match, increases its chances of hosting in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Rangers won Wednesday night 24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 15-12.
If the eight-tie fifth set was any indication of what to expect in the postseason, both teams should be considered contenders.
"Foothills played really well," Rincon coach Nic Thiltges said. "They were fighting us every point. It came down to when it started getting tight, and our all-senior lineup made the difference."
Catalina Foothills (26-5) took advantage of Rincon's senior night starting lineup shuffle in the first set with Michael Bernal and Austin Young on the bench.
With Bernal and Young back on the court for the second set, the Rangers went to work.
Young finished the night with a match-high 20 kills.
"It's more of a mental thing," Austin said. "I just think about what I need to do and attack."
Down 3-1 early, Rincon took the lead 6-5 and never looked back in taking the second set.
All square heading into the third set, it was the Falcons' turn to show what they were made of.
Leading the entire set, Catalina Foothills rolled the Rangers in the third, behind a barrage of big plays from junior middle Keion Reilly and senior setter Matt Klewer.
Reilly led the team in blocks with six, and Klewer finished with team highs in assists and digs, with 35 and 10, respectively.
Three players led Foothills with 12 kills, including Reilly and Klewer, along with Andrew Adair.
Down to their last set, Rincon refocused and pulled back to even with a fourth-set win.
"You can only say so much and do so much training," Thiltges said. "At some point it comes down to trusting your players."
Rincon (28-7) and Catalina Foothills are now at the mercy of the selection committee; brackets will be announced at 2:30 this afternoon.
"This was our last opportunity to learn from our mistakes before the tournament," Falcons coach David Thistle said. "At some point it has to register."