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Coronado rallies to state 4A volleyball title

During the prematch introductions Wednesday, Coronado’s Tyler Cucullu incorrectly was identified as a senior.

It might have been the only mistake tied to the junior opposite hitter all night.

Cucullu struck down the match-winning kill as part of his eight kills and three blocks to help the Cougars rally for a 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 16-14 win over rival Silverado in the Class 4A boys volleyball state title match at Chaparral.

"Once I saw that ball go up, my eyes doubled in size, and I had to put it down because I wanted a state championship," Cucullu said.

Cucullu blasted an unassisted kill to the middle of the court after appearing wide open on the outside of the net to cap an incredible rally for Coronado (18-5).

Austin Moiseyev had 22 kills and two blocks for the Cougars, and Brandon Dau added 17 kills and 10 digs.

Moiseyev had five of his kills in the third set as the Cougars fought back from the fast-starting Skyhawks (20-3).

"Last year, that feeling I felt, I didn’t want to have that feeling again," Moiseyev said. "Even though we were down two, we fought hard."

Coronado, playing in the championship match for the fourth straight year, hadn’t won a title until Wednesday.

"It was satisfying to do it the way we did it, coming back from two down," Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. "Having been in that situation before, I know that it’s hard for Silverado. But we knew what we needed to get done.

"It was going to be gritty; it was going to be ugly. It wasn’t the prettiest volleyball game ever, and both sides were going at it. But the guys stepped up and fought."

Hunter Witt had four of his 13 kills and two of his six blocks in the first set for Silverado, as the Skyhawks used an 8-2 run to overcome a 12-9 deficit and coast to the win.

Kyle Divicino then put down eight of his team-high 19 kills in the second set as Silverado had one hand on the winner’s trophy.

But the Cougars had other plans. Cucullu had two kills and a block to pace a 10-3 run that put Coronado up 20-14 in the third set, and a balanced offense led the Cougars to a fourth-set win.

"It was tough," Moiseyev said. "But I knew we had to pick it up and give everything we had because we had been in the situation before.

"I couldn’t let the game go."

Connor Stephenson dished out 50 assists for Coronado, and teammate Coltin Romney had 14 digs.

Dakota Relle had 44 assists and two blocks for the Skyhawks. Teammate Curtis Hadland added nine kills, three blocks and two aces, and Indigo Varela served four aces.

Contact reporter Sean Walker at swalker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430.

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