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Boys volleyball playoff preview: 5A state title up for grabs

Class 5A boys volleyball teams enter the state tournament with a fair amount of knowledge about their opponents.

Most of the top teams have played each other at least once, whether going through the rigors of league play or facing off in tournaments.

And if those regular-season results revealed anything, it’s that the 5A state title is truly up for grabs.

The boys volleyball playoffs begin Monday with 4A state first-round matchups. The 5A and 3A playoffs begin with state quarterfinals Tuesday.

Here’s a breakdown of how the playoffs shape up:

Class 5A

League champions: Green Valley (Desert), Coronado (Mountain)

The favorite: Coronado

Coronado emerged as the league champion out of the challenging Mountain League on a tiebreaker over Palo Verde. Outside hitters Dexter Brimhall and Dane Galvin and middle blocker Jayden Bell lead a balanced attack.

The Cougars haven’t lost to a Nevada team since a four-set defeat to Palo Verde on March 26. They avenged the loss with a four-set win April 17.

Dark horse: Palo Verde

Palo Verde was the runner-up in last year’s title game, losing to Shadow Ridge in five sets. The Panthers have beaten most of the other 5A playoff teams.

Palo Verde could face a semifinal matchup with Green Valley, which beat the Panthers in a two-set sweep in a tournament March 30.

Potential first-round upset: No. 3M Arbor View over No. 2D Shadow Ridge

Arbor View finished third in the Mountain League and has to start the playoffs on the road. The Aggies swept Shadow Ridge, the two-time defending 5A state champion, on March 28 and ended the regular season with a sweep of Desert League champion Green Valley on April 30.

Class 4A

League champions: Mojave (Desert), Del Sol (Mountain), Basic (Sky)

The favorite: Mojave

The Rattlers dropped just six sets as they rolled to a 12-0 Desert League record to claim the league title and No. 1 seed with a first-round bye. By being at the top of the bracket, Mojave would avoid Del Sol or Basic until the state title match.

Dark horse: Bishop Gorman

Gorman lost a five-set thriller to Basic in its regular-season finale, which dropped the Gaels to the No. 2 seed and out of a first-round bye. The Gaels have a few of the state’s top outside hitters. Drew Dennis is third in the state with 453 kills, and TJ Woodson is third with a .370 hitting percentage.

Potential first-round upset: No. 4S Cimarron-Memorial over No. 2D Tech

Cimarron-Memorial defeated Tech twice in tournament play, in a two-set sweep March 2 and three sets April 13. The Spartans finished fourth in the more challenging Sky League, and one of their best wins was a five-set win over Basic on March 28.

Class 3A

League champions: Virgin Valley (Desert), Boulder City (Mountain)

The favorite: Boulder City

The Eagles look poised to win their third straight 3A title. Boulder City dropped one set in league play, and its only losses have been to 5A, 4A and out-of-state opponents. Travis Hess leads the state with a .515 hitting percentage and is third with 88 blocks.

Dark horse: Coral Academy

Coral Academy is the only team to win a set against Boulder City and would not have to face the Eagles until the title match.

Potential first-round upset: None

Boulder City, Virgin Valley, Coral Academy and Valley should all roll in their quarterfinals.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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