Boulder Creek's major accomplishment Saturday night was winning its first boys volleyball title after two previous title-match losses. Beating top-seed Mesa High was extra satisfaction given the Jackrabbits hadn't lost a five-set match the entire season.
Using a strong offensive start from standout rightside hitter Ryne Benson and taking a tight second set for a 2-0 lead guided the No. 6 Jaguars to a 25-18, 28-26, 25-27, 25-18 victory over Mesa at Mesquite High School.
“This feels great,” Benson, a junior, said. (Setter) Alex Boyce did an amazing job getting us in great shots. I was a little worried when they almost won the second set, and then won the third. That was all due to them. But we finished strong, and got a great team effort.”
Benson led Boulder Creek (33-15) with 21 kills. Fifteen of those came in the first two sets. Benson got plenty of help offensively with middle Elijah Mowry knocking down 13 kills, Cody Williams adding 13 and Quentin Campbell chipping in with 10.
Boulder Creek coach Troy Dueling was particularly pleased with Campbell's night. And while winning the tight second set when Mesa had set point, Dueling pointed to the grip his team made in the first third or so of the fourth set as the match-breaker.
“The first three sets we didn't have a three-or four-point lead once the set got going,” Dueling said. ” think in the fourth it was 8-5 or 9-5 and we didn't have that kind of lead in the others.”
Boulder Creek's lead in the fourth set reached 14-7 and at that mark given the consistency of the Jaguars, Mesa (46-4) was in trouble. Mesa managed to pare the lead to three 14-11, but it quickly rose to six and the Jackrabbits' fate was sealed.
Besides his 10 kills, Williams was menace to Mesa's attacking. He tallied 12 blocks. And libero Andrew deLeon served 16 points fo Boulder Creek. deLeon had a six-point run in the first set that snapped a 16-all tie. He did it again in the fourth set extending a three-point lead to seven.
The second set loss was the critcial juncture for Mesa coach Tony Millanes, who is leaving Mesa High for Mountain View next fall to teach there and coach girls volleyball,. Mesa was serving for the second set at 25-24, but its serve attempt was long tying the match.
“If we could have gotten that one, we might have been up 2-1 after three sets,” Millanes said. “We had chances to pull away, but every time that happened they reeled us in. They blocked very well, and seemed to know where we were going before the ball got there. They played well, and deserved to win.”
JT Hatch finished with a match-high 22 kills after a slow start the first two sets. Jacob Komenda added 12 kills for the Jackrabbits, who were playing in their first boys volleyball final in the 20th year of the sport in Arizona.schools.
Mesa (46-3) vs. Boulder Creek (32-15)