The Desert Vista boys volleyball team took a big step in securing the state’s top seed on Monday with a quick three-set win over Brophy, which entered the match as No. 1 in the rankings.
The two teams came into the match as the only remaining undefeated teams in Division I and the Thunder, ranked No. 2, came out on top although it comes with a bit of an asterisk.
Brophy (13-1 in power rankings) played without four of its players, including leading hitter Ryne Benson, for various reasons.
“It would have been nice to see how we stacked up against a full-strength Brophy in case we see them in playoffs, but there is nothing we could do about it,” Thunder coach Ryan Tolman said. “We held up our end of the bargain.”
That they did as the Thunder won 25-19, 25-21 and 25-22 against the depleted Broncos, who had four sophomores amongst the starting lineup.
“We made a statement,” Thunder senior setter/outside hitter Kyle Pitman said. “They are going to have to be at full strength to beat us.”
Garrett Halverson led them in kills with 10, while Pitman, Kevin Tate and Ryan Adams all had five or more for Desert Vista (14-0).
“We have the five best hitters in the state,” Pitman said. “When we have it going we are hard to stop.”
Brophy coach Tony Oldani agreed.
“To me they have better ball control than most teams in the state, they have more athletes than most teams in state,” he said. “It is their state to win.”
Oldani said the Broncos knew without some of its best players it was going to have to play flawless to have a chance and it didn’t happen.
“We knew the pressure was on us not having some of our leaders,” he said. “We have a few things we have to work out if not then we will move forward the best we can.”
The Thunder should overtake the Broncos in the power rankings, but with three matches left, including a matchup against rival Mountain Pointe on Tuesday and Chandler on Thursday, the top seed is hardly secured.
“We are not looking past anyone at all,” Tolman said. “We have some work to do and we want to make sure we are playing well heading into the playoffs.”
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