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Shadow Ridge outlasts Palo Verde for volleyball title — PHOTOS

Updated May 17, 2023 - 10:52 pm

Senior middle blocker Tyler Kirk had never crowd-surfed before.

On Wednesday, hoisted on the shoulders of his Shadow Ridge classmates after winning the Class 5A boys volleyball state championship for the second consecutive year, Kirk got the experience of a lifetime.

“It was super cool,” he said “I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Kirk was far from the only Mustang in jubilation following the title triumph. Shadow Ridge successfully defended its state championship on its home court, beating Palo Verde in a five-set thriller 26-24, 21-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-8.

Coach Luke Wilson and senior outside hitter Brady Beko hugged on the sideline. Sophomore Kingston Jerome, whose kill clinched the fifth set, posed with an American Samoa flag to honor his heritage. Shadow Ridge students mobbed onto the court, all while Drake’s “Back to Back” poured out of the gym’s speaker system.

For Wilson, seeing off a senior class that changed the trajectory of his program with another title was the perfect ending.

“Credit goes to these boys and all the work they put in,” he said. “They put in the work. I’m just there facilitating.”

Shadow Ridge’s second title didn’t come easy. After winning the first set, the Mustangs dropped the second after struggling to break down the Panthers’ block.

The Mustangs’ offense found some rhythm in the third set as senior setter Noah Barrus assisted on 14 kills, but Palo Verde senior Colton Mendez racked up six kills in the fourth set to keep the Panthers alive.

However, Shadow Ridge found success late with an aggressive service game.

“We served tough, put the ball in hard places,” Barrus said.

The Mustangs leaned on their experience in the fifth set. Kirk and Beko combined for six kills to pull away for the win.

“It was super electric,” Beko said.

Earlier Wednesday, Cheyenne defeated Mojave 25-15, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19 for the Class 4A title, and Boulder City swept Sunrise Mountain 25-10, 25-18, 25-21 for the 3A championship.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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