The senior-laden Las Vegas boys’ volleyball team had two goals in mind when the playoffs started Tuesday.
On Friday night, the Wildcats accomplished their first goal — a Sunrise Region championship — in dominant fashion against Coronado.
The Wildcats dispatched the host Cougars in straight sets, 25-23, 25-21, 25-18. The quest for their next goal — a Class 4A state title — begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Coronado when the Wildcats take on Sunset League runner-up Centennial.
“I’m just happy. All the hard work we put in this whole year, and this is like the biggest payoff,” said senior libero Kyle Monton, who finished with 15 digs. “We’ve been dreaming about this, seeing our older brothers and everything, watching our older brothers of 2014 going to state against Legacy, and you know, we just want to repeat it and make them proud.”
The Kampshoff brothers — senior Brandon and junior Shaun — were their usual dominant selves as each recorded 12 kills, with Shaun also dishing out 10 assists for the Wildcats (21-8). Seniors Foster Palo and Romeo Gray each had five kills and three blocks, and senior Elliot Silvera dished out 12 assists for Las Vegas.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, and it feels really good,” Las Vegas coach Justin Graham said. “I’m happy too for these kids, I’m happy for our school and what it means for everybody in our program, past and present. It’s great.
“Our team has gone through a lot, and for them to trust each other and stick together, that was the best they’ve done with that all year.”
The hero of this night for the Wildcats was Monton. Many of his digs came on blistering kill attempts from Cougars star hitter Ryan Garlick. In the second set, Monton was able to handle numerous shots to keep points alive for the Wildcats and keep the Cougars (27-15) from gaining any sort of momentum.
“Garlick is a great hitter,” Monton said. “I was just coming ready. Our coaches prepared us very well for Coronado and that angle shot. Garlick is as good shot as anyone in the whole region, and I was just ready for it.”
After the match, Monton was named the Sunrise Region’s player of the year.
“He kind of makes everything go,” Graham said. “He’s the leader on the court, he’s the one who’s going to pick kids up when their heads are down.”
The first set was back and forth until Coronado seemed to take control with a late 23-21 lead. However, Shaun Kampshoff made a key block to swing momentum back to Las Vegas, which was able to take the set, 25-23.
In the third set, the Wildcats kept the pressure on the Cougars with their aggressive play at the net. A Shaun Kampshoff kill started a 3-0 run that gave the Wildcats a 23-17 lead. Coronado’s Ben Truman stopped the rally with a kill shot to give serve back to the Cougars. However, Coronado’s next serve was long, and the Wildcats were able to win the point on their next serve to close out the match.
Garlick had 14 kills to lead the Cougars. Matt Wilson added 25 assists and nine digs, and teammate Nik Purser added six kills for Coronado.