Fred Mann was pleasantly surprised and excited about the way the Mountain Pointe boys volleyball team opened the season.

Winning eight straight matches to take the Chandler Wolf Howl Invitational title can have that kind of effect.

Then Tuesday night came and Mann wasn't so happy. The first regular season match, the ones that count in power points, ended in a five-set loss at home to rival Desert Vista.

Momentum meet the window. And out the door you go.

"We were so scrappy and played so hard," Mann said of the tournament win. "Whatever we had then we didn't have (against Desert Vista)."

Losing to the Thunder, who finished 12th at the same tournament, is never easy, but this one showed how fickle a team's identity can be early in the season.

The Pride clearly got on a roll with Saxson Richardson, Jared Ahern, Tylor Wimbish and Connor McCook, but that same contingent had trouble connecting against the Thunder. Blocking was a second late, much to the liking of Desert Vista's Sean Coffinger and Andrew Gott, and the sets were a tad off.

"It was great winning that tournament because no one expected us to," Wimbish said. "We didn't carry that over. We came out sluggish and almost came back but couldn't pull it off."

Mann was clearly disappointed in the loss to the Thunder, but the Pride did show some resiliency. The Thunder won the first two games and was up 13-6 in Game 4 before the Pride forced a fifth game.

"We showed some fight and almost stole a match we didn't deserve to win," Mountain Pointe's Fred Mann said.

Regardless of the outcome Mann is pleased with the potential that the Pride has shown early in the season.

"We are scrappy, and we are clearly finding out who we are still," Mann said. "We have shown we can play with anyone. We just have to find some consistency."

As far as Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman is concerned the win against the Pride is more representative of the Thunder's level of play.

The team was a bit shell shocked in the tournament because David Wyss, an exchange student from Switzerland who played on the right side, broke his left arm celebrating in one of the matches over the weekend.

"It was such a freak thing," Tolman said. "It took a while for us to come out of the fog. We played much better against a very good team."

The Thunder (4-3 as of Tuesday) was more emotional before the match, during it and, of course, after securing the win.

"I think they wanted to show the way they played wasn't indicative of what kind of team they really are," Tolman said. "We have work to do, but this was a good way to get the regular season going."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com

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