There were absolutely no surprises in the Class 3A boys volleyball state championship.
Mojave took home the crown for the fourth straight year with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-16 sweep of Cheyenne on Wednesday at Chaparral.
“We just tried to stay level,” Rattlers coach John Engel said. “We knew they were going to come out and try to throw something at us and we’d have to overcome that storm.”
Engel was correct, as Cheyenne opened a 4-1 lead in the first set, with the excitement of its fans felt all throughout the gym.
However, Mojave responded the way it has all season and came back with a 5-0 run to retake the lead.
The Rattlers (25-11) did not trail by more than a point for the rest of the match.
“We just kept doing what we did all year. I wish we would’ve served a little bit better; I think the scores wouldn’t have been as close,” Engel said. “With the crowd and everything, everyone was jacked up.”
Senior Antonyo Wright, the Class 3A player of the year, led Mojave with 14 kills.
Junior Joseph Silva added 11 kills, and senior Juan Valdez handed out 32 assists for the Rattlers.
Mojave has dominated Class 3A (then Division I-A) since claiming its first state title win in 2014. During that span, the Rattlers are 40-0 against 3A opponents.
This season, the Rattlers did not lose a set against a 3A opponent.
“In the last set, I turned around and I told them it was for their dream season as far as everything we wanted,” Engel said. “Don’t lose a set and prove to everyone you’re the best. That’s what we did here.”
Cheyenne’s Tyler Buchanan had a match-high 15 kills, and teammate Brian Orellana totaled 14 assists.
With four departing seniors, the Rattlers will have the majority of the 2017 team back next season as they look to continue their dominance.
“I’m hoping to reload,” Engel said. “We have a lot work to do, but these are good kids and they’re willing to do what they need to. If they don’t pick up a volleyball until next volleyball season, they might not make the team next year. That’s how much competition there is.”