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Ironwood Ridge beat Catalina Foothills 3-0 Tuesday night to move to 13-0 on the year and the top-ranked team captured the 14th region title in the 18 years Bill Lang has been with the program with seniors. Lang is now two wins away from 500 on the girl’s side of the ledger. His 716 combined wins and 1,099 games coached are also tops from Southern Arizona.
Catalina Foothills fell to 5-5 on the year and the Falcons reached the minimum of ten matches to qualify for a spot in the playoffs. As of Tuesday night, Catalina Foothills is ranked No. 10 in the 5A Conference and the team should make the Play-In Tournament slated for Tuesday, Nov. 10. Ironwood Ridge is all but certain to host a first round match on Saturday, Nov. 14.
Ironwood Ridge controlled the first set 25-13 but Catalina Foothills came back from a 22-18 deficit in the second set to tie it up 23-23 thanks in part to a couple of aces, two service errors by the Nighthawks and a kill from Ava Pritz to Lauren Rumel but the Falcons gave the lead right back on a service error and then Sophia Gomez fed Lauren Barberii for the 25-23 win. The Nighthawks took the deciding set 25-16 for the sweep.
Ironwood Ridge travels to Marana (9-3) on Thursday and the Tigers are fighting for a spot in the top eight to avoid the Play-In Tournament. Catalina Foothills hosts Flowing Wells (6-6) on the same night. The Caballeros are looking at a Play-In spot.
Cienega (9-2) and Buena (8-1) are both ranked in the top five in the 5A Conference. Mountain View (3-8) and Sunnyside (2-7) are also in the hunt for a playoff bid.
In 6A, Rincon/UHS (6-3) and Tucson (5-4) look to make the playoffs. Salpointe (12-2) and Canyon del Oro (9-2) are locks with the Lancers winning the Kino Region in the 4A Conference. Amphitheater (7-2) won the 4A Gila Region but Sahuaro (4-4) and Walden Grove (5-5) are battling for the top 24. Empire (8-1), Pusch Ridge (11-2), Tanque Verde (6-2) and Sabino (7-4) look good in 3A. Tanque Verde won the 3A South.
Benson (8-6), St. Augustine (9-5) and Bisbee (7-7) are in the 2A playoffs with St. Augustine claiming an automatic berth. Tombstone (3-9) is on the edge. St. David (13-1), Desert Christian (8-9), San Simon (8-2) and Valley Union (4-6) are playoff bound in 1A action.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and was given the Amphi Distinguished Service Award. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com