Cody Martin’s spring went so well that it really messed with his plans.

During the winter, the Gilbert basketball team surpassed expectations as Martin played a key role in a 21-7 record and a trip to the Division I quarterfinals. He had so much fun during the season that he committed to play hoops at Mesa Community College.

And then the volleyball season rolled around and he was forced to reconsider.

The senior outside hitter/setter blossomed in the spring, becoming a dominant force in multiple areas and leading the Tigers to their first-ever state championship. Martin finished the season with a team-best 377 kills and 49 blocks and added 381 assists, saving his best performance for last in the state title match victory over Brophy.

As the season came to a close, Martin, the Tribune’s Boys Volleyball Player of the Year, realized he couldn’t give the sport up just yet.

“The season was just really fun,” he said. “I love basketball, but I like volleyball even better. Winning state was a pretty big factor.”

Martin will play collegiately at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif. with teammate Ty Hutchins. They were the 1-2 punch that made Gilbert the preseason state favorites and led them to the championship, and now they will continue their careers together.

It was a dream finish this year for Martin, but it began with some uncertainty.

Near the end of his basketball season, Martin tweaked a knee injury against Basha and sat out the team’s next game. He returned soon after to finish out the year, but questions remained about a knee that had always given him problems.

However, the issue never arose, and after getting into volleyball form, Martin never stepped off the gas.

“He was unstoppable all year,” Gilbert coach Jeff Grover said in an email.

Martin didn’t begin playing organized volleyball until he was a freshman in high school.

He ramped up last summer, skipping club basketball entirely to play volleyball for Club Red with Hutchins alongside mostly Brophy players, so there were many familiar faces on the opposite side of the net during the title match.

The teams split the first two sets, but Gilbert won the final two to claim the trophy. Martin had a season-high 31 kills to wrap up his high school career.

“It’s still like, ‘Wow,’” he said. “‘We really won state.’”

All-Tribune First Team

Player School Yr. Pos. Comment

Cody Martin Gilbert Sr. OH E.V. POY led Gilbert to title

Ty Hutchins Gilbert Sr. OH The other part of the Tigers’ vaunted 1-2 punch

Saige Gonsalves Hamilton So. L Premier defender and led Huskies in aces; team MVP

Jake Nuneviller Corona del Sol Sr. S Set up Aztecs’ lethal offensive attack

Nick Benson Brophy Sr. OH Heart and soul of Broncos led team to title match

Taua Bader Hamilton Sr. OH 4.1 kills per game may have been state’s best mark

Player of the Year: Cody Martin, Gilbert

Coach of the Year: Jeff Grover, Gilbert: Favorites don’t always win titles, but Grover built up program and led Tigers to championship despite target on back.

All-Tribune Second Team

Player School Yr. Pos. Comment

Ryan Moore Perry Sr. OH Underrated star had 236 kills; headed to Lindenwood

Kevin Gorence Hamilton Sr. OH Powerful hitter for Huskies; also a skilled serve receiver

Alex Davis Corona del Sol Sr. OH Team leader in kills and big reason why Aztecs were contenders

Charlie Hualde Corona del Sol Sr. L Three-year starter led team in digs

Ryan Morrison Highland Jr. MB Had 224 kills, team-high 88 blocks for semifinalists

J.T. Hatch Mesa So. S Young star of up-and-coming Jackrabbits

Honorable Mention

Brophy: Ryan Dowd, Sr., MB; Ryne Benson, Fr., S; Chandler: Van Johanson, Sr., S; Desert Vista: Kyle Pitman, Jr., S: Marshall Rooney, Sr., MB; Dobson: Connor Rowe, Sr., OH; Gilbert: Jarrett Neal, Jr., L; Spencer Wright, Sr., MB; Hamilton: Zach Melcher, So., S; Highland: Isaac Turley, Sr., OH; Bryce Farabee, Jr. S; Mesa: Seth Johnson, So., OH; Mtn. Pointe: Agastya Pandarinath, Sr., MB; Sergio Wade, Jr., L; Mtn. View: Mark Soelberg, Sr., MB; Zach Steiner, Sr., L; Red Mtn.: Justin Park, Sr. MB; Westwood: Luke Tingey, Sr., OH; Williams Field: Tyler Wilson, Jr., OH; Spencer Newcomb, Jr., OH.

Memorable Moments from the 2012 season

It all lines up for Gilbert: The Tigers were the preseason favorites and won several of the big tournaments throughout the year. By a stroke of luck, the semifinals and final matches were pegged to be played at Gilbert before the year began, and the Tigers took advantage of the favorable scheduling decision. The Gilbert fans packed the gym, giving the Tigers an extra boost as they defeated Hamilton in the semifinals and Brophy in the title match for the first championship in school history.

Quarterfinal upset: Highland has an illustrious history under coach Vee Hiapo, but this was a down regular season by the team’s standards. However, the Hawks found their groove in the postseason, defeating Tucson and Catalina Foothills in the first two rounds and then pulled off a big upset of No. 2 seed Corona del Sol in the quarterfinals. Highland made it to the final four before falling to Brophy in four games.

One title for all: The former two-division alignment was pared down to only one this year, causing every team in the state to aim for a singular championship. Former Division II-power Catalina Foothills was eliminated in its first postseason match, and many of the other traditional D-II contenders did not make the field. It wasn’t a huge change for the former Division I teams, but the smaller schools had a rough time competing in the new format.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6834 or

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