After Palo Verde’s boys volleyball team took the first two sets with relative ease from Las Vegas High in the Class 4A state final on Wednesday, senior captain Grant Tingey had one request from setter Haden Van Orden entering the third set.
An 18th birthday request.
“I told him, ‘All I want for my birthday is to get the game-wining kill,’” Tingey said. “And he was like, ‘If it’s there, I’ll give it to you.’”
The Panthers’ captain never got that kill, but he did settle for the state-winning block.
Tingey finished with four kills, four digs and four blocks and scored the final point as Palo Verde won its second state title in three years with a 25-16, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23 victory over the Wildcats in a matchup of region champions at Chaparral High.
“Kind of fitting,” said Palo Verde coach Phil Clarke, whose team also won in 2015. “Being on his birthday and everything, he was frustrated with the time he came out before. He missed a block he thought he should’ve gotten.”
Sophomore teammate Scott Solan held it down the rest of the match. The 6-foot-7-inch outside hitter had 13 kills, five aces and two blocks and was the team’s go-to offensive weapon in the first two sets. Solan served two aces and had three kills in a four-point span in the first set to give Palo Verde an 18-8 lead and all the momentum.
“I was given some really good opportunities,” Solan said. “We were getting a lot of good passes. I just felt like it was one of those days where everything was kind of clicking. Good day for that to happen.
“Everything led up to the win. We all had the right mentality coming in. And everybody was just kind of having an on-day. We all had our hearts in it.”
In the third set, the Wildcats showed fight in storming to a 16-6 lead and extending the match. Brandon Kampshoff scored three of Las Vegas’ first four points off kills, and did his best to fire up the crowd after the team won the set, 25-18.
But in the fourth game, the Panthers wouldn’t be denied. Palo Verde overcame 13 ties and six lead changes, and Tingey sent back a would-be kill to Las Vegas’ side of the net before being mobbed by the Panthers’ student section, which rushed the court.
“I’ve been with these guys since freshman year and we’ve talked about it all four years how we were going to do it senior year,” Tingey said. “It finally happened. We came in, we were ready and we wanted it. I owe it all to the guys — every single one of them. We really couldn’t have done it without any single one of them.”
Stephen Banks added 13 kills, five aces and two digs, and Josh Horn had eight kills and two blocks for Palo Verde. Kainoa Villa (seven kills, 25 assists, nine digs), Van Orden (15 assists, five digs) and Zach Nelson (13 digs) also made strong contributions for the Panthers (30-9).
Shaun Kampshoff led Las Vegas with 12 kills, 16 assists, 14 digs and two blocks. Brandon Kampshoff had 11 kills and eight digs, Kyle Monton had 22 digs, and Foster Palo and Romeo Gray each had seven kills and three blocks for the Wildcats (32-14).
“I’m happy with the fight and work they put in to get to this point,” Las Vegas coach Justin Graham said. “Bringing back like two starters from last year, I don’t think anybody thought we’d get here. And we did. Palo Verde is an amazing team — they’re fantastic. I don’t know where their weak spots are, still. So hats off to them. They played a great game and they deserve it.”