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Boys volleyball thriller wins CdS spot in finals

By: Alex Zener

May 5, 2008   

The Corona boys volleyball team won a five-game match against No. 9 power-point ranked Basha in its final match at home to guarantee the Aztecs a spot in the 4A/5A State Tournament for the fourth time in as many years.

The Aztecs’ match against Basha could have gone either way until the last point was scored in the final game in the best-of-five-game match.

Corona started off strong in the first game, going up 10-1 off two block assists by Andrew Bryant and Matt Austin and a couple of kills by Bryant. Corona had the score at 19-10 before the Bears were able to fight back and tie the score at 23. Clay Gittus made a crucial kill for CdS to take a one point lead before Alex Zener finished the game off with a kill to win the first game 25-23.

Basha took the lead early in the second game, and Corona was never able to recover. In the third game, the Aztecs once again started off strong with a block by Austin and Zener and an ace by setter Sutton Demlong to take a 3-0 lead before the Bears fought back to make it 3-3 and then 4-4.

Austin Peck got low to receive a Basha serve and passed the ball to Demlong to set up Matt Austin for a kill straight down in front of the 10-foot line.

Peck then served an ace for a 2-point swing and CdS went up 6-4. Basha was able to tie the game at 12-12 and then take a 3 point lead before Demlong, the smallest player on the court won a joust at the net with the Bears middle blocker to launch an Aztec comeback.

The Aztecs tied the score at 17-17 and never looked back after libero Ryan Fitzgerald dug up a hard hit Basha ball to give CdS at 2-point lead and force Basha to take a time out. Corona hung on to win the third game 25-22.

Once again the Bears played strong in the fourth game to force a fifth and final game to determine the match. Basha served first and scored the first 2 points.

The Aztecs seemed to struggle until they were able to tie the score at 10-10 when the seniors took over to score the final 5 points taking the fifth game 15-10 to win the match 3-2. Demlong served five straight balls, Sean Eddy made a great pass, Bryant, Austin and Zener each had vital kills while Austin and Zener ended the match by roofing the Bears opposite hitter.

It was only fitting that the seniors saved one of their best games for last since it would be the last one they will ever play in Corona’s gym.

Corona has two regular season games left April 29 at Brophy and May 1 at Sunrise Mountain. The Aztecs, currently with a 9-6 regular season record, will most likely be the No. 15 seed in the state tournament and play against currently No. 2 power point ranked Central Region Champion Mountain Pointe, May 6, 6:30 p.m., at Mountain Pointe High School.

Go to   for the state tournament schedule.


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