Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

What’s sweeter than one state championship?

How about back-to-back state championships.

The Tucson Salpointe Catholic Lancers got to experience that sweetness after they defeated Peoria Sunrise Mountain in the 4A state championship game, three sets to two.

Salpointe found this second straight state championship wouldn’t come as easy as their 3-1 victory over Greenway last year, as Sunrise got the better of the Lancers in a close first set, 26-24.

5A VOLLEYBALL:: Sunnyslope downs Queen Creek to win state title

The Lancer squad comprised of mostly juniors and seniors stayed resolute and didn’t let an early deficit deter them. They stormed back and won sets two and three behind stellar play from outside hitter Alanna Duarte. She delivered kills when Salpointe needed them most.

Senior captain Peyton Lewis thrived on the chaos in long rallies and remained vocal all match long. Salpointe took sets two and three, 25-23 and 25-18, respectively.

The young Sunrise Mountain squad refused to go quietly into the night. The Mustangs, who only have one senior, trailed for almost the entirety of the fourth set but came roaring back late to take a 25-22 set win and knot the match up at two sets apiece.

Sunrise Mountain’s front row played stalwart defense most of the night. Their blocks kept the Mustangs in the match and their bench and crowd energized. Madison Harris and Adna Mehmedovic were standouts in their defensive play.

Salpointe never trailed in the fifth set, and the score was only tied a few times. Once they smelled the finish, their outside hitters struck quickly and ended Sunrise’s attempted upset. The Lancers took the fifth set, 15-13.

“All of us were nervous and jittery, but we were able to stay calm enough to pull it out and it’s the most exciting feeling. I can’t even describe it,” Lewis said. “Last year was the first year that Salpointe had ever won state in volleyball, and now we did it two years in a row.” 

Salpointe ended their year on the highest possible note, but Sunrise Mountain has a lot to look forward to with a team that only has one player leaving after this season.

Sunrise Mountain defeated N0. 1-seed Cactus Shadows 3-0 to get into the finals. Despite falling short this year, the Mustangs have to already be an early favorite to win the 2018 4A state championship.