When Mountain Pointe volleyball coach Fred Mann stepped foot in the gym on Saturday, he knew his time with the Pride might be coming to a close.
What he didn’t know was that it would end so abruptly.
The Pride fell to Centennial 3-2 at Mesa High in a razor-close match to close out Mann’s career at Mountain Pointe.
The 19th- seeded Pride won the two of the first matches before falling 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 19-25, 13-15 to the Coyotes, seeded 14th.
Both schools traded the first four games splitting them 2-2. Mann said he was, “A little disappointed in our ball control.”
“I didn’t think we passed very well tonight and I think that was the difference, they kept us out of system a little bit out there,” Mann said. “We just struggled to terminate a ball every now and then.”
Coming into the final game, it seemed that whoever took the early lead would be the team to take home the win and the Coyotes would do just that.
Centennial would jump out to the early 3-1 lead, just to see the Pride battle back to take the lead back 5-4. All told there were four lead changed in the final game but Mountain Pointe wouldn’t be able to hang on to the end, losing the final game 15-13.
Despite enjoying the moment, Mann wishes it could have ended differently.
“It was fun, it was a good match, I enjoyed it,” Mann said. “You always want to fight for a state championship and, you know, we put in a lot of hard work so it’s disappointing, the finish right now.”
The loss marks the end of an era as Mann announced earlier in the year that this would be his last season as the Pride’s volleyball coach after 20 seasons in which he won one girls and seven boys state titles.
Top-seeded Desert Vista defeated No. 17 Sandra Day O'Connor, 25-16, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23 at home to advance to Tuesday's third round.
The Thunder will host No. 8 Salpointe Catholic at 7 p.m. in the Storm Center.
Smith is a junior journalism major at Arizona State.