In a sport where momentum and confidence mean everything, host Tempe Marcos de Niza was a little worried entering Thursday’s quarterfinal match against Tucson Catalina in the 4A/5A-II state volleyball tournament.
After a poor performance in a first-round win on Tuesday, and a slow start against Catalina, the team needed a boost. Thanks to the strong play of star Jake Wekell, the Padres overcame an early deficit to win easily, 25-22, 25-17, 25-17.
“I’ve played a lot of sports and I’ve never seen momentum changes like there are in this sport,” coach Scott Miller said. “If we had lost that first game, it would have been a completely different match.”
Trailing 15-14 in the first game, the Padres (15-4) tied it at 16, then reeled off five straight points. The Trojans fought back to cut the deficit to one point, but that’s when Wekell stepped up and finished the game off with an ace for the final point.
Wekell, who will attend the University of Hawaii next season, finished the match with 11 kills, 12 assists, seven aces and six blocks, including three blocks on three straight plays in the third game to help put it game away.
Daniel Johnson had eight kills, 11 assists, and three blocks for Marcos, which will face Tucson Sahuaro in the semifinals at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Marana Mountain View.
ANTHEM BOULDER CREEK def. HIGHLAND, 20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 18-16: Corbin Weatherby had 20 kills and seven digs and Parker Del Re added 19 kills but the Hawks fell short at Boulder Creek.
Jackson Law had 49 assists for Highland, which had played in the past four Division I title games.
MOUNTAIN POINTE def. BASHA, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20: Jared Morrison and Nick Lounsbury recorded eight kills and seven kills, respectively as the Pride polished off the Bears.
Anthony Alvarez’s 15 kills and Kete Meskill’s 27 assists led Basha, while Zach Douglas added six blocks. Mountain Pointe (18-1) will face Desert Vista in the semifinals.
In other quarterfinal action: Tucson Salpointe def. Glendale Mountain Ridge, 25-18, 21-25, 25-22, 25-18.
In quarterfinal action, Tucson Catalina Foothills beat Tucson Sabino, 25-20, 25-17, 25-19; Vail Cienega beat Glendale Sandra Day O’Connor 25-20, 32-30, 25-22; and Tucson Sahuaro beat Tucson Rincon, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.