Mountain Ridge ends Gilbert's quest for Div. I volleyball repeat - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Mountain Ridge ends Gilbert's quest for Div. I volleyball repeat

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Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:22 pm | Updated: 12:31 pm, Fri Nov 2, 2012.

Glendale Mountain Ridge knocked off defending-state champion Gilbert and is one step closer to the schools first volleyball state championship since it won a Class 5A title in 2004.

The host Mountain Lions sidelined the Tigers in four sets, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19 and 25-18 in the Division l quarterfinals Thursday.

No. 4 Mountain Ridge meets top-seeded Horizon on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mesquite High School in the semifinal.

"I don't think I even knew what volleyball was then (2004), it's an honor to go for it again with this group," senior outside hitter McKenna Witt said. "We did exactly what we wanted to (Thursday) to keep it going for Saturday."

The Lions (32-4) have won eight straight since they their last loss which was to Horizon in the finals of the Goldwater tournament Oct. 6. Horizon (41-3) was last year's state runner-up, losing to Gilbert in the final.

"We lost to them by two points in the deciding game, we were going to come out strong and live for Saturday," added McKenna Witt.

Tuohy was diving all over the floor for the high energy Mountain Lions as she had 32 digs on the night and served the match winner.

Mountain Ridge was stronger around the net as well, led by McKenna Witt with 14 kills. Kayley Siekmann had 11, senior outside hitter Kami Zoller had nine and Madison Witt added seven and led in total blocks. Siekmann led with 17 assists and senior Rachel Parsons had 16.

The Lions came out of the gates strong speeding to the win in the opening set. Gilbert (31-10) then evened it at one game each, as senior middle blocker Kayla Lederer had a kill to put it away for the Tigers.

Mountain Ridge took charge of the pivotal game three. It won 25-19 as McKenna Witt's spike found its mark. Mountain Ridge put it away in the fourth game. McKenna Witt had a kill to force game point and Tuohy did the honors serving the game and match winner.

Still, it was impressive follow-up campaign to the 2011 championship season for the Tigers, which boast a lineup full of freshmen and juniors.

The season began with an 11-match winning streak, followed by a solid showing in the Westwood Tournament of Championship in mid-September. Losses to Xavier, Chaparral and Hamilton beget an up-and-down final month through the Nike Tournament of Champions and regular season finale.

"They were just better than us," Gilbert coach Joe Hesse said. "The team is so fast and that speed hurt us. Our girls played hard and did a lot of great things this year."

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