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Cienega and Mica Mountain battle at the Lion’s Den Invitational

October 16, 2021 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365


Cienega (Andy Morales/AZPREPS365)

Cienega beat Mica Mountain 2-0 (25-7, 25-6) to capture the championship of the Lion’s Den Invitational held at Mountain View on Friday and Saturday. Ranked No. 11 in the 5A Conference, the Bobcats improved to 24-4 on the year and 11-3 in power-ranking matches with three contests left in the regular season.

Senior setter Carmen Hernandez took control of the final match with 13 assists in the first set with nine more recorded in the second for a total of 22 assists with her main target being Maddie Copelin who finished the final with 9 kills. Hernandez also served the last 13 points for the Bobcats.

“There's been a lot of ups and downs with my game,” Hernandez explained.  “Last year I didn't play a lot because like we had two really good setters, but this year I feel like I connect with everybody so it just builds my confidence. I have so much trust in my teammates and I love everybody on this team.”

The Bobcats are known for an excellent history at the setter position and the program did lose Hannah Morris and Bianca Ramirez to graduation which left ball-handling duties Hernandez this fall and she has performed. Cienega is a safe bet for a playoff spot and the conference play-in tournament is set for Tuesday, Nov. 2.

The Thunderbolts performed well this fall in the first varsity season for the program and Mica Mountain is 7-2 in ranking matches with a No. 16 ranking entering a stretch of five matches in about a week including a gauntlet of Buena, Salpointe and Catalina Foothills taking place on three straight nights from Oct. 26-28.

The 4A Conference also has a play-in format for teams ranked No. 9 to No. 24 so the Bolts have some breathing room but making the post season in one year would be amazing in itself. The other surprising team in the invitational would have to be Amphitheater. The Panthers are 11-3 with four matches left.

Mountain View offered an expanded pool play schedule in the invitational which allowed for more court time for the teams which was an added bonus with the playoffs on the horizon.

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15

Cienega over Buena, 2-0

Mountain View over Mica Mountain, 2-0

Walden Grove over Tombstone, 2-0

Amphitheater over Buena, 2-1

Mountain View over Desert View, 2-0

Tombstone over Pueblo, 2-0

Cienega over Amphitheater, 2-0

Mica Mountain over Desert View, 2-1

Walden Grove over Pueblo, 2-0

Pueblo over Desert View, 2-0

Mica Mountain over Walden Grove, 2-0

Mountain View over Tombstone, 2-0

Amphitheater over Desert View, 2-0

Buena over Mountain View, 2-1

Cienega over Mica Mountain, 2-0

Amphitheater over Pueblo, 2-0

Buena over Tombstone, 2-0

Cienega over Walden Grove, 2-0

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16

Amphitheater over Mountain View, 2-0

Mica Mountain over Pueblo, 2-0

Amphitheater over Walden Grove, 2-0

Buena over Mica Mountain, 2-1

Cienega over Desert View, 2-0

Buena over Pueblo, 2-0

Cienega over Tombstone, 2-0

Mountain View over Walden Grove, 2-0

Tombstone over Desert View, 2-1

Buena over Walden Grove, 2-0

Mica Mountain over Mountain View, 2-0

Desert View over Pueblo, 2-0

Mica Mountain over Amphitheater, 2-1

Cienega over Buena, 2-0

 

CONSOLATION

Desert View over Tombstone, 2-0

 

THIRD PLACE

Buena over Amphitheater, 2-0

 

CHAMPIONSHIP

Cienega over Mica Mountain, 2-0 (25-7, 25-6)