By the midway point of the fourth set on Tuesday, Charles Pollnow was asking for the ball.
The way the Bishop Gorman senior was destroying volleyballs from the front and back courts, it was no wonder why.
Junior setter Trevor Papock turned the 6-foot-2-inch outside hitter into his favorite target in the Gaels’ 18-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-14 home win over Shadow Ridge in a Sunset Region quarterfinal.
“My first playoff victory,” said Kyle Krauss, in his sixth season. “It feels good to get off the schneid.”
Gorman (38-6) will meet Palo Verde (26-9) in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Legacy High.
The final chants on Tuesday belonged to Gorman’s student body, which celebrated the win with cries of, “We want Palo. We want Palo.” The Gaels will finally get their chance after surviving a match much tougher than the final score might suggest.
Shadow Ridge led in each of the four sets and played the Gaels close throughout. There were ties at the midway point or later in each of the first three sets, but the Mustangs could only pull out one set.
Leading 14-11 in the fourth set, Gorman secured the win after running off nine consecutive points. In the middle of it all was Pollnow, who finished with 15 kills, 19 digs and three aces.
“I wanted the ball,” Pollnow said. “I wanted to put it away and knock those guys off. It just clicked for me and I knew what I had to do.”
Will Hafen added 18 kills for the Gaels.
Tanner Franklin had 17 kills and nine digs for Shadow Ridge, and teammate C.J. McInnis notched 36 assists, 20 digs and five blocks.
But the evening belonged to the Gaels, and Pollnow.
“He finally found his rhythm,” Krauss said of his Benedictine University (Arizona)-bound hitter. “He’s trained for this, this situation. Mentally he’s struggled in this moment in the past. But he finally climbed over that mountain tonight.”
And he helped Krauss do the same — in the form of a first playoff win.
“And hopefully now a first state,” Pollnow said.
Palo Verde 3, Sierra Vista 1 — At Gorman, Stephen Banks had 16 kills and five blocks, and Scott Solan added eight kills and five aces to rally the Panthers to a 22-25, 25-18, 25-12, 25-15 win over the Mountain Lions in a Sunset Region quarterfinal.
Kainoa Villa had five kills, 23 assists and four blocks, and Haden Van Orden had 12 assists for Palo Verde.
Chris McCoy had 15 kills, six digs and two blocks, and Frank Hines had seven kills, two aces and four blocks to lead Sierra Vista. Lerone Gibson had eight kills, and Ian Albertson dished out 28 assists for the Mountain Lions (18-17).
Centennial 3, Durango 0 — At Arbor View, Sam Belnap had 28 assists, seven digs and three aces, and Kade Frischnecht added 10 kills, six digs and two aces to lead the Bulldogs to a 25-21, 25-19, 25-23 win over the Trailblazers (22-17) in a Sunset Region quarterfinal.
Antwaun Smith had eight kills and four blocks, and Farries Gardner notched nine kills for Centennial (31-9), which will meet top-seeded Arbor View (30-8) in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Thursday at Legacy High.
Arbor View 3, Desert Oasis 0 — At Arbor View, Carson Driscoll had 26 assists, two blocks and two aces in the Aggies’ 25-12, 25-21, 25-9 victory over the Diamondbacks in a Sunset Region quarterfinal.
Brenden Wagner added 11 kills, Treven Clizbe had nine kills, and Tyreese Cole had six kills for Arbor View.
Bryson Sadama led Desert Oasis with 19 digs. Colin Bracchi had six kills, and Jacob Jaffe had four kills for the Diamondbacks (10-17).