After hanging on to win a back-and-fourth first set, Rincon/University pulled away early in the second set to sweep Sabino (27-26, 25-15) and win the TUSD Invitational for the first time in at least a decade.
Rincon coach Alysha Ramirez said the Rangers had never won the tournament with her, and she's been there for 10 years.
Taylor Reiter, a 6-foot-3-inch junior, carried Rincon on its 7-0 tear through the 20-team tournament hosted by Palo Verde High School. She had 61 total kills in seven matches.
Reiter recorded 12 kills in Saturday's championship match against the Sabercats, including back-to-back kills to clinch the second set.
"We just came together," Reiter said. "I've never seen us come together like that."
A key to Reiter's success was connecting with new setter Brooke D'Amore Bradley. She had 25 assists for the Rangers. Junior Nadia Schutt finished with 13 of the team's 42 digs.
"I couldn't have done it without the back row digging it up or Brooke setting it," Reiter said. "It was totally a group effort."
Ramirez was happy to see Reiter and Bradley connect and thinks it can end up being a dangerous formula.
"That was a huge deal," Ramirez said. "They've only been playing together a month, and today was the day that, finally, Brooke was figuring out where to put the ball for Taylor."
Sabino (1-1) went 5-2 in the tournament and led early in the first set. Rincon tied the score four times before taking a 7-6 lead on an ace by Marghi Demer.
Then the Rangers held onto the lead until late in the match, when Sabino tied the score at 23. The Sabercats went up 24-23 when a Reiter spike went out.
Rincon tied the game and regained the lead on a kill by Reiter, but Sabino's Katee Culbertson tied it at 25 with a kill. The teams both scored to tie it at 26, but Rincon won it when Sabino's Sharayah Gastelum served into the net. There was a 27-point cap on the first and second sets.
The second set was much less dramatic. Rincon took an early 2-1 lead and never looked back.
Ramirez said the win is a huge momentum boost heading into the coming week, when the Rangers (1-1) play three matches.
"We're on such a climb right now on how good we're getting," she said.
It was the second time in the week that Rincon beat Sabino. The Rangers won in five sets at Sabino on Wednesday.
Senior Courtney Spalt, a co-captain for Sabino, said she can't wait to face Rincon again later this season.
"We're pretty evenly matched so I'm looking forward to playing them a third time," she said.