When two great teams meet in a high-stakes matchup, the game does not always live up to the hype.
But it did Thursday evening.
With a Northwest League title on the line, Arbor View’s boys volleyball team overcame four tightly contested games to walk away with a 26-24, 27-25, 32-34, 25-23 home victory over Shadow Ridge.
Arbor View (29-8, 8-2 Northwest) won the first two sets, both taking extra points to win, but the true marathon came in the third set. The Aggies served a possible match point three times, but could not hang on for the sweep.
“We’ve been there before, of course,” Arbor View coach John Gibbons said. “Our thing is, we’re done with that and we’re on to the next. Don’t let outside stimulus, or the referees or anybody effect what we do. You can control what’s in between the lines and that’s all you can control.”
The final set went back-and-forth with several lead changes before the Aggies took a 22-20 lead, forcing Shadow Ridge (24-11, 6-4 Northwest) to call a timeout. The Mustangs made a late rally, but couldn’t complete the comeback to force a fifth set.
“They’re a hell of team, they’re a really good team,” Gibbons said. “They get a lot of balls up and they keep balls in play. My hat’s off to them because they came here to play.
“How much more fun can it be than an end-of-the-year game for a division title when you have a big crowd for both sides? It’s great. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Brenden Wagner led Arbor View with 22 kills and eight digs. Carson Driscoll added 44 assists, nine digs and five blocks for the Aggies.
Tanner Franklin had 22 kills and 15 digs for the Mustangs. C.J. McInnis had a game-high 58 assists, along with five blocks, for Shadow Ridge, which dropped its third consecutive match and will enter the playoffs as the Northwest League’s fourth seed.
Arbor View will play one more nonleague match before the Sunset Region playoffs begin Tuesday.
“We’re three-time division champions now and that was something at the beginning of the season was a goal, to repeat,” Gibbons said. “And we’re a one seed, which is good as well, but whoever we play over there doesn’t really matter because we still have to play Arbor View volleyball.”
Contact reporter Bill Slane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.