Coronado’s boys volleyball team wasn’t going down on its senior night without a fight Tuesday evening.
After dropping a long third set to fall behind 2-1, the host Cougars responded by winning the final two games to clinch a Southeast League title with a 25-22, 17-25, 29-31, 25-20, 15-9 victory over Green Valley.
It was the Cougars’ first league title since 2015, and eighth in their last 10 seasons.
“We needed to remind ourselves that we were playing well,” Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. “Both sides were making an equal number of good plays and mistakes. So we just had to cut down on those one or two mistakes that are the difference between winning a game and losing a game. But we also reminded ourselves to have fun because we looked really, really tense and really tight.”
Senior Ryan Garlick had a team-high 29 kills to go along with 13 digs and two aces to lead Coronado (24-14, 9-0 Southeast). Teammmate Matt Wilson added 54 assists, 12 digs and three aces.
James Reed led Green Valley with 20 kills and 11 digs. Brian Barkemeyer had 38 assists, five kills and five digs for the Gators (21-12, 7-2 Southeast), who will meet Foothill on Thursday for the league’s No. 2 seed. The winner will host a playoff opener.
Although the Cougars locked up the league title and knocked off the defending state champions, Johnson said there is still more his players can work on heading into the playoffs.
“We couldn’t smell the blood in the water when there was blood in the water at times,” he said. “We let Green Valley off the hook and they’re too good of a team to let off the hook.
“We have to get better at that. We have to be more terminal. We need to work on that killer instinct.”
Contact reporter Bill Slane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.