Scott Solan’s return to Palo Verde’s lineup made the Panthers a preseason favorite to win the Class 4A boys state volleyball title.
The Pepperdine commit made a championship a certainty Thursday night.
Solan, a senior opposite hitter, had 13 kills, six digs and three aces as the Panthers rolled to a 25-15, 25-19, 25-16 victory over Coronado to win the program’s fifth state championship.
“It was a lot of grinding this season, and everybody working together as a unit and everyone playing their role,” said Solan, who didn’t play high school volleyball last year. “Any time everybody is contributing, it makes the game flow, and we were able to reach our goal.
“Everything is for my teammates. I don’t like to look at anything from a personal level. My teammates were there through ups and downs with me, and we stayed together through the whole season.”
While Solan was praising his teammates, Palo Verde coach Phil Clarke credited his star.
“I personally don’t think he gets enough credit,” Clarke said. “He got so much abuse this year from the crowds. I’ve been doing this a long time, and you tell me if you’ve ever seen someone get booed at an awards ceremony. That’s what they did. That’s what him and this group had to deal with all year long.
“I’m so glad for everyone, but especially for him to finish out that way.”
Palo Verde (37-3) overwhelmed the Cougars (32-12) early, winning the first two sets behind kill shots from Solan and Jared Brady, a Brigham Young commit.
Coronado rallied in the third set, until an Evan Hartshorn kill kicked off a 4-0 run to push the Panthers ahead 18-14. After the Cougars cut the score to 18-16, the Panthers reeled off seven straight points to close out the match.
Cooper Jarman had 37 assists for Palo Verde, and Brady finished with 13 kills and seven digs.
Alex Winiarczyk had 10 kills and nine digs for the Cougars. Alex White dished out 24 assists, and Jacob Ceci had eight kills and two aces.
Mojave wins Class 3A title
Mojave promised itself that it wouldn’t again experience the disappointment it felt last season when it lost to Sky Pointe in the Class 3A state championship match.
The host Rattlers got their revenge and another state title, defeating Sky Pointe 25-23, 14-25, 25-15, 25-22 for their fifth championship in six years.
“This was a promise we kept,” Mojave junior Sebastian James said. “We told our captains, those seniors last year.”
With the exception of T.J. Blanchard-Davis, Mojave (25-11) graduated almost all of its team from a year ago.
“I have almost all juniors, a few sophomores,” coach John Engel said. “The worst part was, with last year and all those seniors, not knowing what we expected this year. This was just a remarkable season.”
Blanchard-Davis finished his high school career with 23 kills. James had 14 kills, and setter Juan Carbajal had 52 assists and 16 digs for the Rattlers.
Jaegen Driscoll had 22 kills and six blocks for Sky Pointe (21-17).