A day after the funeral for team manager Alex DePriest, Phoenix Desert Vista reached the final of the 19th annual Brophy Prep Invitational boys volleyball tournament on Saturday, only to run into a juggernaut Chandler team.
Chandler held off Desert Vista, winning two of three sets for the championship and improved its season record to 33-3-1.
Other than a tie with Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor early in pool play of the tournament, Chandler didn’t give up a set until it faced Desert Vista in the final. Chandler went 8-0-1 in the two-day tournament.
On Saturday, Chandler beat Anthem Boulder Creek, host Brophy Prep, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Desert Vista.
Mason Mullins and Jonny Bowles of Chandler led the all-tournament team.
“It was a whole team effort really,” Chandler coach Bobby Robson said. “The argument could be made that Cole Udall was the best player of the weekend.
“Everyone on the team contributed to the team going 8-0-1 on the weekend.”
Desert Vista (28-9-1) has played inspired volleyball since the death of 17-year-old DePriest, one of the top players on the girls volleyball team, who died April 3 due to complication from Type 1 diabetes.
DePriest, a popular student who was one of three girls volleyball players who served as team mangers on the boys volleyball team, was cremated after her organs were donated. Her funeral was held Friday in Ahwatukee.
After losing at home to Gilbert Highland, 3 sets to none, in Desert Vista’s first match after DePriest’s death, an emotional game after which several players broke down in tears, the Thunder has gone 11-2-1.
In the Brophy tournament, it went 9-2-1.
This tournament is the biggest indicator of who to look out for in the 6A state tournament.
“It certainly puts us in a good position, mentally,” Robson said. “It was a great opportunity to play the state’s best right before the playoffs and see where we are at. Time to focus on our three remaining games and be as good as we can be for the playoffs.”
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