Class 4A-2A boys volleyball state tournament outlook
When: Monday through Saturday
Where: First two rounds at higher seed; semifinals and championship at Amphitheater.
First-round schedule (all games at 6:30 p.m.; top four seeds get byes): No. 9 Cholla at No. 8 Marana; No. 12 McClintock at No. 5 Sahuaro; No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 6 Sabino; No. 10 Cienega at No. 7 Seton Catholic.
Favorite: Tucson Catalina is the team to beat. The Trojans might enter as the No. 2 seed because of an easy schedule, but no one in the state has beaten them this year and they are the defending champions. Catalina has victories over Salpointe and Catalina Foothills among others, and incredibly, it hasn’t dropped a single set to a team in Arizona this season, according to Maxpreps.com.
Darkhorse: Higley gets the good fortune of lining up on the opposite side of the bracket from Catalina. The Knights get a bye in the first round, and if they can get past a likely matchup with Sahuaro in the quarterfinals, a semifinal showdown with Catalina Foothills could happen. A run to the title match would be impressive, and Higley may be able to pull it off.
Outlook: No surprise here, as Catalina and Catalina Foothills are once again the top two teams in the state. The Tucson powers faced off in last year’s title match and have the top power point seeds for the tournament. Catalina Foothills has won the state championship in three of the past five years, although the Falcons aren’t the same dominant team as they have been in the past. The East Valley has some good representation in the tournament, as Williams Field, Higley, Seton Catholic, McClintock and Notre Dame will all try to make a postseason run.