Shadow Ridge and Sierra Vista combined to win 40 of 42 matches heading into Thursday’s semifinals of the Sunset Regional volleyball tournament.
Both saw their seasons come to a surprising end on Thursday.
Palo Verde earned a 25-18, 25-23, 25-20 win over previously undefeated Shadow Ridge. In the nightcap, host Sierra Vista lost to Centennial in three straight games, 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19.
Palo Verde and Centennial will meet at 7 tonight at Sierra Vista.
In the Sunrise Region, Las Vegas earned a hard-fought win over Silverado, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 15-10. The Wildcats will meet Coronado, which used a tough middle game to wear down Basic 25-17, 25-11, 25-17 in the other semifinal.
Less than a week ago, Palo Verde had a chance to beat the Shadow Ridge, leading late in Game 4. However, Palo Verde let that game slip away and eventually dropped the match.
The Panthers wanted one more chance and got their wish Thursday.
“We let one slip away last week, and we knew we could play with (Shadow Ridge),” Palo Verde’s Tyler Capko said. “Today, we came out with the confidence that we can play with them, and as the match went on, our confidence got bigger and bigger.”
Capko had 16 kills for Palo Verde (17-5). All four region finalists advance to the four-team state tournament.
“Palo Verde is playing at a very high level, so the match should be interesting and exciting,” Centennial coach Scott Nelson said after his team’s win over Sierra Vista. “There’s no pressure, since both of us have at least one match left after Friday, and that’s a good feeling.”
Matt Lish had 32 assists for Palo Verde. Andrew Topham had 11 kills and Matt Phillips eight digs for the Panthers.
Jeremy Makaiwi had 25 assists and Jeff Elmer 15 digs for Shadow Ridge (21-1).
Centennial 3, Sierra Vista 0 — Jeff Mecham had 29 assists as the Bulldogs (17-5) stunned the Lions.
“We did a solid job in the blocking department, and they never got things going,” Nelson said. “We didn’t do a great job of passing the ball, which took our outside hitters out of the game.
“But we served the ball much better than Sierra Vista, and that was the difference in the match.”
Drew Staker had 11 kills for Centennial, and teammate Blake Davidson had seven kills and five blocks.
Kohl Homeyer had nine kills and five blocks for Sierra Vista (19-3), and Zach Waldron added 20 assists and three blocks.
Las Vegas 3, Silverado 2 — The Wildcats used a strong surge in the final game to outlast the Skyhawks.
Braeden Wilson had 27 kills and 19 digs for Las Vegas (18-4), and teammate Aaron Hansen had 17 kills, 12 digs and four blocks.
Casey Hadland had 30 assists and four digs for Silverado (15-6). Christian Espina had 12 kills and 12 digs, and Brayden Olenslager added 11 kills and five digs for the Skyhawks.
Coronado 3, Basic 0 — The Cougars had 10 aces in their semifinal win over the Wolves.
Hunter Chaney had 21 assists, four digs and two aces for Coronado (20-1). Chris Austin added 12 assists, eight kills and two aces for the Cougars.
Jenson Lavallee had 10 kills and five digs for Basic (15-7).