Shadow Ridge’s boys volleyball team appeared to get a little lackadaisical Tuesday when Centennial grabbed a 2-1 match lead and all the momentum.
But that’s when senior leadership took over in a critical timeout in the fourth set.
A.J. Makaiwi, N.J. Makaiwi and Quinn Peterson each took their turn coaching their teammates in the timeout that proved to be game-changing.
The seniors’ approach worked as the third-seeded Mustangs rallied for a 25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 28-26, 17-15 win over the Bulldogs in the quarterfinals of the Sunset Region tournament at Legacy High.
“It’s nice having that core,” Shadow Ridge coach Travis Underwood said. “We’ve had them on the varsity squad for three years in a row, and it has been fun to see them develop and bring around the others. In the timeouts, they used their energy in a positive way. In the past, it would have been, ‘You are doing this wrong and doing this wrong.’ Instead, their leadership skills came into play, and they were saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’ “
After taking the first set, Shadow Ridge quickly fell into a funk the next two games.
“That is kind of the way we have been working all season,” Underwood said. “We got out to an early lead, and then all of a sudden, we sit back and say, ‘Let’s see what the other team will do to us.’ I’ve been explaining to the boys, especially in a playoff setting, you cannot do that. During the regular season, it’s a little bit easier to get away with, but now you are battling for your lives.”
Centennial carried its momentum into the fourth set and took a 5-2 lead on two powerful kills by Nyjaee Washington. But then Underwood took a timeout to slow down the Bulldogs.
“They started making a huge run, and you kind of started feeling the momentum shift,” Underwood said. “We realized at that point in time, we needed to start buckling down. I told the boys to get back to playing Shadow Ridge volleyball, where defense comes first — which has been out motto all year — and that really got us back to where we needed to be. We started adjusting, picking up balls and our defense started converting to offense.”
Shadow Ridge eventually tied the set at 12-12, and the match stayed close the rest of the way until the Bulldogs hit N.J. Makaiwi’s serve into the net to end the set at 28-26.
The fifth set also was back-and-forth before the Mustangs held on to win, 17-15.
Peterson led the Mustangs with 14 kills, two blocks and 12 digs.
Jacob Ludwig added 10 kills and two blocks, and A.J. Makaiwi had 32 digs and one ace for Shadow Ridge, which also got 40 assists, 20 digs and two aces from N.J. Makaiwi.
Shadow Ridge (20-7) will meet Palo Verde (29-10) at 5 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.
Tanner Durkin led Centennial with 20 kills. Washington had 15 kills, and Grant Nelson dished out 64 assists for the Bulldogs (30-10).
Legacy 3, Bonanza 0 — Zaire Franklin recorded 16 kills and 10 digs to help the Longhorns top the Bengals, 25-18, 26-24, 25-14.
Legacy (16-6) will host Arbor View (14-8) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.
Anthony Cabrera had 14 digs, and Anthony Delgado added 37 assists and two aces for the Longhorns, who also got 12 kills and seven digs from Anthony Madden.
Robby Adair had nine kills and five digs to lead Bonanza. Andrew Jensen put down eight kills, and Tyler Simmons had six digs for the Bengals (15-11).
Palo Verde 3, Desert Oasis 0 — Michael Simister had 16 kills to lead the Panthers to a 25-14, 26-24, 25-23 sweep of the Diamondbacks (7-16).
Chandler Juilfs had 11 kills, and Cole Willson added 34 assists for the Panthers.
Arbor View 3, Durango 1 — Sam Buckels had 17 kills to lead the Aggies to a 29-31, 25-22, 25-12, 25-22 win over the Trailblazers.
Ben Martin added 27 assists and had four digs, and Kaneen Manuel had 14 kills, two aces and one dig for Arbor View.
Michael Diggins led Durango with 17 kills and three blocks. Andre Shabazz added 27 assists, 15 digs and three aces, and Marc Viernes contributed 15 digs for the Trailblazers (8-19).