Schedule: First and second rounds are Saturday at site of top-8 seed; Quarterfinals are Tuesday at higher seed; Semifinals are Thursday at Gilbert H.S.; Championship match is May 12 at 7 p.m. at Gilbert H.S.
Favorite: Gilbert: The Tigers were the preseason favorites and have played like the best team in the state this year. They won the Chandler Wolf Howl tournament early and the Brophy tournament late in the year. Ty Hutchins and Cody Martin are the best 1-2 punch in the state and there is ample talent around them. Gilbert went 16-1 in power point matches and will have a high seed in the tournament.
Darkhorse: Hamilton: The Huskies were the surprise team last year when they had a successful regular season and made the state quarterfinals before falling to eventual-champion Mountain View. With Kevin Gorence and Taua Bader back, Hamilton was 15-1 heading into its final power point match on Thursday and will have a first-round bye. The Huskies are the only team to knock off Gilbert in a power point match — beating the Tigers in four games on Apil 10 — and suffered its only loss to Desert Vista in five games. This team has experience and talent and could very well make a deep run in the postseason.
Outlook: Gilbert is the favorite, but it’s not a slam-dunk. Deer Valley has gone toe-to-toe with all the top teams this year and should be right there at the end. Corona del Sol is coming off the Mesa tournament championship and has been consistent all year. Brophy is led by Nick Benson and has a stable of talented players. Highland, Mesa and Mountain View are longshots to win it all, but have the type of teams that could pull off an early upset and throw the brackets for a loop. Sahuaro is likely going to enter the tournament as the top seed, but its undefeated power point record came against light competition and a deep run is not expected. Boys volleyball has been pared down to one division again, so the winner of the tournament can truly claim to be the state’s best team.