MARANA - It was close, but Tempe Marcos de Niza couldn’t break the stranglehold Tucson Catalina Foothills has on the Division II state volleyball world.
The Padres took a game but Catalina Foothills rallied for an 18-25, 25-22, 25-20, 27-25 victory Saturday in the 5A/4A-II state title match at Marana Mountain View, the Falcons’ third consecutive state championship.
“I think we got a little taste of what we wanted and then we kind of let it go to our heads a little bit,” hitter/setter Jake Wekell said. “I think we let our ball control get a little sloppy and they started to get the rhythm in blocking. They played really well, too.”
Third-seeded Marcos (15-5) led 24-22 in the fourth game but couldn’t close out a win to force a deciding game.
“We were up and we choked it away,” Wekell said.
Marcos turned the ball over after a wide serve and then Drew Griffith got a key dink for top-seeded Catalina Foothills (18-2). Garrett Voge (18 kills) got another big hit, erasing the Padres’ lead. An enforced Marcos error gave the Falcons a 26-25 advantage and James Kinion put the ball away to end the season.
“I don’t think they really beat us,” outside hitter Jason Barkac said. “We gave them the game. With our easy mistakes, we got down on ourselves and didn’t get back up.”
Marcos seemed in control of the fourth game, leading 23-19 before mistakes allowed Catalina Foothills back in the match.
“Game Four, I’m thinking we’re going to take Game Five. we had the lead,” Marcos coach Scott Miller said. “We just didn’t make a couple plays at the end.”
Daniel Johnson finished with 15 kills and 15 assists for Marcos. Wekell had 17 kills and Barkac 11.
The Falcons adjusted to the Marcos attack after losing the first game, the first loss in the state tournament for Catalina Foothills.
Marcos beat Tucson Sahuaro, 25-20, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22, in the semifinals earlier in the day. Catalina Foothills beat Vail Cienega, 27-25, 25-13, 25-17.