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NOTE: OFFICIAL RESULTS HAVE STILL NOT BEEN POSTED FROM FRIDAY OR SATURDAY
Catalina Foothills swept through bracket play of the Hawk Invitational held Friday and Saturday at Tanque Verde High School including a 25-11, 25-15 win over Buena in the championship match.
Catalina Foothills is 6-3 in power-ranking matches with the first set of AIA rankings set to be released on Tuesday. Buena came into the tournament with a 3-5 record and the Colts got past Sabino and Tanque Verde Saturday morning to set up the championship final with the Falcons. The Falcons took care of Sahuarita and Mica Mountain in the morning.
Mica Mountain fell to Tanque Verde in the third place match but the Thunderbolts played the match tight, 26-24 and 25-23. Mica Mountain played a modified junior varsity schedule last year for the new program located in the Vail School District and the team won its first region match in program history on Tuesday with a 3-0 sweep over Walden Grove.
Thunderbolt head coach Amy Johnson has 710 combined victories between her boys and girls teams over the years which puts her only 10 wins behind Ironwood Ridge coach Bill Lang who leads all coaches in Southern Arizona with 710 wins and 1,079 matches coached. Lang’s 502 wins on the girl’s side is tops in Tucson and Johnson holds the record on the boy’s side with 347 wins.
Johnson had a very successful tenure at Salpointe where she put in place the foundation for the power programs the boys and girls teams have experienced to this day. She went on to coach at Sabino where she revived the program and she became the first head coach in Mica Mountain history two years ago. Mica Mountain does not have a boys team and Lang coaches Beach Volleyball in the spring now.
Catalina Foothills is led by University of Arizona commit Lauren Rumel and the senior hitter is averaging over 8 kills a set but senior standout Ava Pritz is finding ways to get her whole net involved at the midway point of the season.
“We definitely had high expectations coming into the season and it was definitely an adjustment for us but some of us have played club together for a while,” Pritz explained.
“We’ve all grown, but we need to bring in some of the younger girls. So over the last couple of weeks, we’ve found we can’t go to the same people all the time so it’s been a big step up for some of our younger players to get the ball and let them we’ll make moves for us.”
The Falcons were set to host a playoff match last year but the team had to forfeit that match due to COVID concerns. The Mountain View Lion’s Den Girls Volleyball Invitational is slated to run from Oct. 15-16 and that will be the last invitation for Southern Arizona this fall.
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, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org