The stubbing of the toe had to stop.

The Mountain Pointe girls volleyball team lost in the first round of the postseason the last two seasons and it appeared Tuesday the Pride seniors were going to have their careers end the same way.

After winning the first game against Basha in the Division I playoffs, Mountain Pointe dropped the next two to sit one bad rally away from having it come to end again.

Only the eighth-seeded Pride found a way to get momentum back to win 25-19, 22-25, 14-25, 25-18 and 15-6.

"This was so important for us," said senior hitter Brenna Wagner, who had a team-high 17 kills. "Hopefully it sets the fire for us and sparks us going forward. This was a battle. We just had to play with heart and have fun.

"We worked so hard this season and done so well. To lose this match would have been the worst."

The Pride travels to top-seeded Glendale Mountain Ridge on Thursday for the state quarterfinals.

Mountain Pointe coach Fred Mann has said several times this season how much he has enjoyed the makeup of this team so for him it would have been a shame to see them go home early.

"This is a nice, cool group of girls and I just didn't want to see the season come to an end in the first round," he said. "I'm glad these guys got rewarded for their hard work."

On the other end, of course, is Basha.

The ninth-seeded Bears were in control heading into game 4 after opening a 4-0 lead. Mountain Pointe came back to tie it at 8 when the match's longest rally - about seven returns each - before the Pride got the point for the 9-8 lead.

But emotionally it was much more than that.

"We had at least five opportunities to put a ball away and never did," Jim Kann said of the rally. "We tipped it and never took a swing at a ball. They did the same. It was early in game four and when you lose those it changes. It is worth more than one point."

Basha (22-10) deserved better fate than the difficult first-round matchup against the Pride (23-8) considering some of the teams seeded ahead of them, but Kann felt like they still had their chances.

"It was our match up and we knew exactly what they were going to do," he said. "They didn't do anything we were surprised by. It basically came down to making plays and we didn't do enough."

Mountain Pointe could have given in during that fourth game after losing the first two just like they seemed to do against Desert Vista in the regular season finale.

Throw in the recent first-round defeats, including last season when the Pride was seeded sixth and lost to No. 11 Corona del Sol, and Mountain Pointe really was in a painfully familiar position after game three.

"I had flashbacks and didn't want that to happen again," Wagner said. "We were not going to let this one slip by. "

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.



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