No. 3 Salpointe (10-1) and No. 6 Ironwood Ridge (10-2) are the Southern Arizona representatives to the Division I state tournament slated to begin on Wednesday, Apr. 19. Salpointe will host No. 14 Boulder Creek (6-5) at 4:30 p.m. and Ironwood Ridge will host No. 11 Mesquite (8-3) at 4 p.m.
The Lancers and the Nighthawks are competing in the same pod so, if both teams win their first-round matches, they will play each other in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, Apr. 25. The higher seeds will serve as the host in the quarterfinal round and all matches will start at 4:30 p.m.
Salpointe finished runner-up in the D-I playoffs last year to five-time state champion Xavier Prep.
“We were challenged this spring to balance our busy schedules and the academic rigors of Salpointe Catholic,” Salpointe head coach Heather Moore-Martin said. “As the section champions, we are honored to represent our school and understand the challenges the bracket presents! We look forward to the following three weeks as an opportunity to improve each day!”
All eyes will be on No. 1 Xavier Prep (12-0), of course, the program has only lost one match since the sport began in 2012 and the Gators have won all five state championships that have been held since then.
Ironwood Ridge will be in uncharted territory as the team takes to the sand in the post season for the first time in school history.
The AIA was the first association in the nation to sanction sand volleyball (now called beach volleyball) as a sport and the Nighthawks hosted the first-ever duals competition in the nation last year at the University of Arizona.