It wasn’t at all surprising that Cactus Shadows senior Andrea Weedman was named Most Valuable Player of the Cactus Shadows Volleyball Classic.
What was somewhat surprising, though, was Weedman’s accepting the honor Saturday afternoon as a member of the tournament runners-up rather than the champions.
Weedman ripped 11 kills but that wasn’t enough to keep an inspired Tucson Catalina Foothills team from sweeping Cactus Shadows, 25-20, 25-22, in the final.
The loss was the first of the year for Cactus Shadows (17-1).
“I think mentally we weren’t as focused as we needed to be,” said Cactus Shadows coach Karen Sitkiewicz. “Catalina Foothills played really well. They played a great match against Chaparral and they were really fired up and they played that way.”
Catalina Foothills (18-2) had to rally in Game 3 of the semifinals, beating the Firebirds 25-21, 18-25, 22-20. The Catalina Foothills players were extremely happy after the win and they carried the same emotion through the championship match.
“I’ve been waiting for that (emotion) to show up. I’m tickled that it showed up,” said Catalina Foothills coach Marie Daranyi. “They’ve been just kind of going along. It’s nice to see them show some fire.”
They might not have been able to keep that fire stoked if Cactus Shadows had played with its usual proficiency. Cactus Shadows had beaten Catalina Foothills, 25-17, in pool play but as close as Game 1 of the final was, the hosts never found their stride.
Of Catalina Foothills' 25 points in the first game, 18 came off Cactus Shadows service errors and attacking miscues.
Catalina Foothills registered only three kills in Game 1.
“We might have been tired or something. We just weren’t clicking like we were earlier in the day,” Weedman said. “It was definitely our mistakes.”
Cactus Shadows did start clicking early in the second game and took a 14-8 lead. Catalina Foothills, though, caught Cactus Shadows at 16-16 and took a lead it would not relinquish at 19-18.
Junior Kyra Thompson, an all-tournament selection, led Catalina Foothills with seven kills and 13 digs.
Cactus Shadows got 10 kills from its second all-tournament selection, sophomore Rachel Oligmueller.
Chaparral’s Renata Miles and Karlee Woodward were also named to the all-tournament team.