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Les Willsey
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com
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6A Boys VB: Boulder Creeks repeats with 4-set win over Chandler

Boulder Creek's consistency is continuing to show in boys volleyball.  And the titles are piling up.

For the second year in a row and third time in four years, the fourth-seeded Jaguars won the big-school title. Boulder Creek won the first two sets and went on to tame No. 2 seed Chandler, 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21 at Mesquite High School.

With their boisterous fans engulfing the west side of the gym in a sea of red, Boulder Creek (40-5-2) simply had the better match overall and denied Chandler (31-5-4) its first title in its first-ever title game appearance.  

Boulder Creek, under first-year head coach Taylor Stallman, played with the poise that's helped bring three titles of late. The Jaguars beefed up confidence by winning the first two sets. That left room for some error. The third set wasn't their best, but they had very few low points in the match.

"Between the second and third set I reminded our guys we have to focus on the every next point , every next game," Stallman said. "We made a lot of errors in the third set, but we were able to come back from those better in the fourth set. It wasn't going to be over until one team got that last 25."

It was a steady night for Boulder Creek's offense, led by sophomore Jackson Hickman and senior Patrick Ross. Hickman led the Jaguars with 17 kills and Ross talled 13. They got off to hot starts with 17 of their 30 kills in the first two sets. BC setter Ryan Serrano closed out his career with a great night all-around Chandler's top threat, junior Jonny Bowles, took longer to heat up. He was limited five kills in the first two sets. Teammate Braxton Bradbeer had seven to that point. 

It's when Bowles got in the swing of things that Chandler showed signs of making it  a match and perhaps a five-set final. Like Horizon's Trevor Weary in the evening's first title game, Bowles was on a mission from the third set on. With eight kills in the third set and six in the fourth, Chandler clawed back. Bowles finished with a match-high19 kills. Bradbeer totaled eight. 

Chandler reeled off the first three points of the fourth set, but Boulder Creek didn't let the deficit grow any larger. Boulder Creek was ahead or even until Chandler worked its way to a 17-14 advantage. Boulder Creek wiped that out in short order scoring the next five points and never trailed again.

Chandler coach Bobby Robson took the runner-up trophy with no regrets.

"I told our guys we're doing (tournament) for us," Robson said. "It' was about where we've been and where we'd come from. I thought we handled outselves really well. They were the better team tonight. I'm so proud of these guys. They've given me their hearts and souls. We'll look forward to next year with 10 of our 13 guys coming back."

 

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