Fred Mann had two ways to go Thursday night.
Apparently there is a high road, and the Mountain Pointe girls volleyball took it, on the ride back from Desert Vista.
The Pride lost the annual Dig Pink event to the Thunder, getting swept 25-12, 25-21, 25-22, but that’s not the sticking point.
It began earlier in the day when an email from the Arizona Interscholastic Association acknowledged an error by the MaxPreps' seeding process, which dropped Mountain Pointe from No. 11 to No. 15 in the rankings.
With only the top 16 making the postseason, a loss put the Pride’s postseason hopes on hold until the final results are released Saturday morning.
Still, Mann put the onus on the Pride for coming up short on the court instead of blaming an algorithm gone wild because the results from some invitationals were accidently used in the rankings.
“The responsibility of winning falls on us,” said Mann, who chose not to tell the players about the situation before the match. “If we beat Corona after having a 2-0 lead (last week) instead of losing or if we win (against DV) then we don’t have to worry about it.
“I am not going to point fingers are the AIA or anyone else. Everything gets solved if you win. If we had taken care of business tonight we are probably in so we will see.”
The seeding snafu put the result of the match at the forefront instead of taking a backseat to the fifth annual event, but it didn’t stop the importance of the cause.
In addition to the silent auction and raffles tickets sold at the match, each team did a long fundraising process leading up to the match with the money going toward the SideOut Foundation’s national event that raises money for the breast cancer awareness and research.
Through the evening’s contest, the Thunder led $4,464 to $1,950 with some donations expected to still come in over the next few days. Thunder coach Molly West believes it was the third win in five years in the fundraising portion of the event for Desert Vista.
“It’s nice how much the community cares and participates,” West said. “I am amazed. It’s a lot of work for my parents and the kids are excited about it. I’m very proud of what we accomplished.“
The Thunder were also hurt by the snafu as they dropped from ninth to 11th before the match, meaning a win over the Pride probably wasn’t enough to make the top eight and therefore a first-round home match.
“We are just glad to be in,” said West, whose team was kept out the state tournament because of last year’s power rankings mistake. “You have to beat everyone to win it all anyway.”
The Thunder are playing well after going through some lineup and offensive changes with the return of junior middle blocker Vanessa Wesley from an injury.
Brooke Honeycutt had 11 kills and five blocks, while Michelle Steagall had five kills and Wesley added four. As well as Desert Vista did at the net, those players wouldn’t had those chances without the tremendous play of Lexi Glover at libero and Sydney Schumacher, both of whom did a great job of receiving and passing in the back row.
“They set everything up and keep the offense flowing,” West said.
If Desert Vista doesn’t move up into the top eight it was the last home match for the Thunder’s eight seniors.
“It’s a great group and we think we can keep this season going a lot longer,” West said.
The Pride, on the other hand, only have three seniors and they don’t know if they have another match to prepare for when the postseason starts on Tuesday.
Chandler Hillman, Codi Jacobsen and Kayla Meester might have played their last match.
“It’s tough and l guess it was like false hope,” an emotional Meester said about the change in seeding. “I just hope we get another chance.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@awhwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.