Mesa High advanced in the second round of the Division I boys volleyball tournament, defeating Peoria Centennial 25-22, 25-13, 25-14 Saturday afternoon at Mesa High School.
Mesa, the No. 3 seed, moves on to host No. 6 Anthem Boulder Creek on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.
After briefly falling behind in the first game Centennial stormed back to take an 11-10 lead, its only lead of the match, but Mesa scored on the following set and never looked back.
“I feel like we were slow to start, and that’s going to be problematic for us if we try to do that again,” Mesa Coach Anthony Millanes said. “But we picked it up on the outside hitting, and the middles did a good job staying on the game plan blocking-wise against those two monster athletes (Shawn Poindexter and captain Tate Abbott) that they had. It was a good all around team victory.”
Coming out of a Centennial timeout in the second game and already up 13-7 Mesa’s Clark Fleming served consecutive aces widening its lead and keeping the momentum with the home team.
Mesa relied on the steady senior leadership of Jake Jarvis, who drove home the winning kill in the first game, and the outside hitting of juniors J.T. Hatch and Jacob Komenda, who scored the final match point.
“When they’re in system. they can come at you with like three of four different guys,” Centennial Coach Cari Bauer said. “Our block just can’t keep up with that. We didn’t do a good enough job keeping them out of system.”
Big blocker Jordan Thomas had several key blocks matching up against Centennial’s lengthy middle tandem of Poindexter and Abbott.
Serving was a decisive factor in the second-round matchup as Mesa kept the ball in play and got the bounces it needed, including an errant deflection off a light fixture that fell behind the Centennial defense to start the third and final game.