The Mountain Pointe boys volleyball team is not getting caught up in the numbers game.
The Pride has won 12 straight power-point games, but as of Wednesday morning sat 10th in the power rankings. They are 21-3 overall after winning the Chandler tournament to start the season and going 2-2 at the Brophy tournament during spring break.
The lower than expected ranking is a by-product of a weak East Valley Region that has Skyline, St. Mary's and Desert Ridge combining for a total of five wins.
"We play three of four bottom teams (in the Class 5A power rankings) twice, but you can't read anything in the power rankings right now," Pride coach Fred Mann said. "We have some good non-region games coming up that will help, especially if we win them."
While the Pride is living on the edge of the power rankings - the tournament field is 16 teams - they are assured of a place as region champion. It would still be nice to get into the top eight somehow to host a first-round match.
There are four matches left after beating Corona del Sol 3-0 in the regular season and should they happen to beat, Perry (7-5) and Salpointe Catholic (11-1) the Pride just might move up enough to get that first-round home match on May 9.
Senior middle blocker Saxon Richardson is anxious to see how the Pride fares against Corona and Salpointe. The Pride faced both in the first day of the Brophy tournament, but the first day the matches only went two games per tournament rules as Mountain Pointe tied both matches 1-1.
"We are playing well but it is hard to tell how good we really are because of our schedule," Richardson said. "If we can get pushed by Corona and Salpointe we will have a better idea of where we need to get better."
Mann said this group of players has been one of the best he has had in his long coaching career regardless of how good they are on court.
"I like my team and we got some nice pieces in place," he said. "A lot of time coaching can be a little tough but this is a cool group of guys. It makes it easy to come to practice and work with these guys because they bring an awesome attitude."
It starts with a strong senior class led by setter Connor McCook, outside hitter Jared Ahern, middle blockers Tylor Wimbish and Richardson.
"Our entire team is improving, but there are a couple players who really standing out," Mann said. "Ahern doesn't look like your typical volleyball player, but he gets the most out of his body and has been our best all-around player.
"And McCook has really matured into a very good setter and has our offense clicking and playing very well."
Ahern led the team with 155 kills and 22 aces through 18 matches with Wimbish (150 kills) and Richardson (122 kills, 38.5 blocks) providing some power as well. McCook had 451 assists and Sergio Wade led with 110 digs.
Wimbish said the team has really come together lately in large part because of its ability to serve.
"When we are serving good we are hard to beat," he said. "Every part of our game is pretty solid, but when we can count on a serve in a match then we are a different team."
Mann is confident the team will finish the season strong, but he really won't be concerned about the power rankings until the final match of the year - May 5 at home against Skyline.
"One win or loss might move you a spot or two now, but on that final day when everyone's (amount) of matches is the same you can really move up or down a lot of places," he said. "It should all even out in the end, but if it doesn't then we will be ready to face whoever it is across the net from us."
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com