The Desert Vista boys volleyball team nearly climbed out of the depths of elimination Thursday but it proved to be too much for the top-seeded Thunder.
Desert Vista had been able overcome every obstacle all season, but losing the first two games on Gilbert’s home court, a barrier in itself, was their downfall as the fourth-seeded Tigers prevailed 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 30-28.
“We came out slow and didn’t recover,” senior Brock Wilson said. “We made a run, but it was too much. We had some bad calls, in my opinion, go against us. We just didn’t get the job done.”
The Thunder were up 12-6 in Game 1 but let it slip away after Gilbert took a 19-18 lead. Game 2 was back and forth until the Tigers ripped open a 15-14 lead by pushing the lead to 20-15 before closing it out.
Desert Vista showed some life in Game 3 by finishing on a 12-6 run to erase at 16-13 deficit.
Game 4 was epic as it wasn’t decided until a block by Gilbert’s Jarrett Neal and middle blocker Nic Gibson's 15th kill provided the difference after each team had three shots at game point before it was decided.
“I was proud of the guys responding at the end," Gilbert coach Jeff Grover said. "We had the same thing against Brophy on Tuesday night when they came back and won the third game. Desert Vista had our number the first two times we played. We made some changes with our serving, and they responded with changes to get back in it."
The Thunder felt like it was a disservice to their accomplishments this season to have to play the state semifinal on the court of the lesser seed.
Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman’s only quote after the match was, “I sure would like to find out how we would do on a neutral court.”
The loss won’t sit well for a long time but eventually the Thunder will realize how special the season was in 2013.
“I loved my teammates like brothers,” senior Ryan Adams said. “We didn’t get what we wanted, but nothing will take away the memories of this team.”
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