After Brophy Invite, add Hamilton boys VB to state title talk

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                </div>  If history is any valid indicator, this year’s winner at the Brophy Invitational boys volleyball tournament could have even bigger success waiting on down the road. Hamilton High School […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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If history is any valid indicator, this year’s winner at the Brophy Invitational boys volleyball tournament could have even bigger success waiting on down the road.

Hamilton High School won the weekend’s Brophy Invite, generally considered the granddaddy tournament of the season, by beating Boulder Creek High School in straight sets, 25-21 and 26-24.  And Hamilton accomplished the mission in just its first appearance in the high-profile annual event.

Last year, Highland High won the event, which is also the last major tournament in the regular season for the top teams in big-school competition around the state.  And then the Hawks went on to win the Division I state championship, beating Gilbert High in the finals.

That trick may not be as easy to pull off this year, however.  Half of the field in the Brophy Invite were top-10 programs, but more than one was missing at least one key player.  So an asterisk should probably accompany some of the results.

But Hamilton is a legitimate contender for the state title this year and has already won another tournament this season, the Foothills Tournament that is held in Tucson.  They are 25-7 on the year and narrowly missed a berth in the Wolf Howl Invitational finals in early March.

With six seniors on this year’s roster, the Huskies have one of the more experienced and well-balanced teams that will vie for the state championship next month.  That senior group includes Brian Campbell, the outside hitter that is averaging nearly five kills a game, and Saige Gonsalves, one of the premier liberos in the state.

In the Brophy Invite, Campbell had eight kills in the title match, while fellow senior, Matt Baca, contributed six more.

Boulder Creek (23-11) made the Huskies work for the win, leading midway through the first game before Hamilton pulled away down the stretch.  And in the second game, the Jaguars actually led throughout before Hamilton was able to tie it at 22 and go on to win.

The competition at the Brophy Invite, and the win by Hamilton, also shows the breadth of talent that will be on display in the playoffs, as a handful of teams have a good chance of making the title run.  Mesa High School won the Wolf Howl, but were beaten by Brophy Prep (22-9) in that same tournament, the Jackrabbits’ only loss in 11 games during the highly-respected  tourney hosted each year by Chandler High School.

And the two teams that met for the 2013 state title, Highland High and Gilbert High, have to also be figured in the mix again this year.