Valley boys volleyball coach Matt Porter has stressed to his Vikings to “play in the moment” on many occasions during this season.
His team heeded that advice Thursday at the Sunrise Region Tournament, and now Valley’s remarkable year continues.
The Vikings jumped out to a quick two-set lead against defending Division I state champion Coronado in the semifinals and never looked back in earning the school’s first trip to the state tournament with a 25-18, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22 win at Las Vegas High.
Valley (18-7) will meet host Las Vegas (19-5) in the region final at 5 p.m Friday.
“What a feeling, its simply awesome,” Porter said. “I kept telling the kids to play in the moment and not get down when things went south. Sometimes, its not all about volleyball, it’s about having the intangibles that helps make a difference.”
Jack Heavey led the Viking charge with 27 kills, 16 in the first two sets.
“Jack is a special player,” Porter said. “He just brings so much to the table. No team can win without great players, and Jack is certainly special.”
Heavey did get some help from Matthew Ballaro and Zack Ross, who combined for 23 kills. Alex Sandoval added 46 assists for the Vikings.
Even though the Cougars were down by two sets, Coronado didn’t quit. Led by Travis Boman and Max Osmundson, the the Cougars took the third set.
It appeared the Cougars were on their way to evening the match, as four consecutive blocks during the fourth set gave Coronado a 14-10 lead.
But Valley went back to Heavey, and the senior delivered.
“Valley certainly earned this today,” Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. “We didn’t give it to them. Valley had much more emotion on the big points, but give our kids credit because they fought to the end.”
Osmundson had 25 kills and 13 digs for Coronado (26-9), and Boman added 18 kills and five digs. Sam Cox chipped in 12 digs, and Logan Dickover had 57 assists for the Cougars.
Las Vegas 3, Foothill 0 — Chris Kampshoff had 17 kills to lead the Wildcats to a 25-14, 25-23, 38-36 victory over the Falcons to earn their first state berth in four years.
The third set was perhaps the best set of the day, as both teams traded punches during the 40-minute affair. However, Chris Marx’s block on Vegas’ 14th match point final downed the Falcons.
“It was probably the best game I’ve been a part of,” Las Vegas coach Sue Thurman said. “There were 12 kids pouring their hearts out. Its shows the quality of talent in this city.”
T.J. Esporas added 15 kills, and Shayne Marquez had 44 assists for the Wildcats, which faces Valley for the third time.
Colin Curi had 12 kills and an ace for Foothill (11-9), and teammates Steve Robison and Weston Lott each had 11 kills.