The wild and crazy atmosphere of the boys’ volleyball game at Ironwood Ridge High School last Tuesday was surpassed only by the frenzied finish of the game itself, as the Mountain View Mountain Lions (4-0) defeated the Ironwood Ridge (5-6) Nighthawks in three of five sets — 21-25, 25-19, 29-27, 26-28 and 16-14 — that day.
“It was a lot tougher than we thought,” said Mountain View’s Scott Jenks, one of the area’s premier players.
Jenks led the way with 34 kills, while teammate Derrick Pollitt powered down 19 kills. James Norris added 55 assists.
Alexander Becker’s powerful flying serve resulted in three straight points for the Nighthawks, as they rallied to tie the fifth game at 14. But after a net block went out of bounds by the Nighthawks, the Mountain Lions grabbed the last two points to escape with the win.
“We needed to seize the opportunity,” said Ironwood Ridge coach Bill Lang. “Their experience helped them (finish).”
Becker served five aces and added 14 kills for the Nighthawks. Alec Sonderman added 16 kills. Josh Petersen added 25 assists.
“Becker is switching to outside hitter this year,” Lang said. “He’s only been playing volleyball for one year.”
Jordan Kelly served three points to help the Nighthawks open the first game with a 4-0 lead. The lead eventually went to 10-3, before Jenks’ power game at the net helped Mountain View close the gap before falling short, 25-21.
Jenks took over in the second game, and Norris served four points in a row for a 16-10 lea while en route to a 25-19 win for Mountain View.
The Mountain Lions seemed ready to take charge, but then Jenks began to tire and the Nighthawks started blocking and improving its defense at the net.
“When we got to sets three and four, we started touching it,” Lang said. “Before that, we weren’t getting to (Jenks’) shots. He’s a great player.”
In a match where Mountain View played the same six players with no substitutions, it might’ve taken a toll.
“I was getting tired from all the jumping,” Jenks said. “From this match, we learned how to win close matches.”
Mountain View coach Rick Ellis said that, despite the substitutions, his six-man unit kept going strong.
“We weren’t tired,” Ellis said. “We were used to it.”
Was Ellis surprised about the tight match?
“I knew it would be close. To get into and finish games is important,” he noted.
The Mountain Lions are beginning to make winning a habit. The team recently beat defending state champion, Catalina Foothills, three games to two. The key game was a grueling game four, as the Mountain Lions came away with a 43-41 win before ending the match with a 15-13 win in the fifth game.
So where does the loss leave Ironwood Ridge?
“We’re still a work in progress,” Lang said.