Hamilton beats top-ranked Brophy for boys’ volleyball title

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                </div>  Brophy Prep hadn’t won a boys’ volleyball state championship in almost a decade, but had one of its best opportunities to regain the title as it went into last […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Brophy Prep hadn’t won a boys’ volleyball state championship in almost a decade, but had one of its best opportunities to regain the title as it went into last night’s Division I title match-up with Hamilton High School.

The Broncos were the top-ranked program at season’s end, although they were given a No. 2 seed for the playoffs behind Hamilton’s No. 1 seed; had lost just two matches all season; and were on a 14-match win streak.  But that 2006 title will still stand as their last since the Huskies claimed this year’s Division I trophy with a five-set victory to deny Brophy (43-3) its fourth state championship.

For Hamilton (36-9-1), it was the school’s first boys’ state title in the sport.

But it hasn’t been a stroll in the park.  The Huskies had to hold off a determined Mountain View High (Mesa) team in the semifinals that went five sets before Hamilton secured the right to advance to its first championship match by breaking a 13-13 deadlock to squeeze out the win.  And a quarterfinal game against Desert Vista High School also went five sets.

So it shouldn’t have been any surprise that Hamilton, which isn’t a power team with a lot of height, needed five sets again to dispatch Brophy last night.  The two teams took turns winning the first four matches (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 19-25) before the fifth set was won by the Huskies, 15-12.

The full house that showed up at Mesquite High School in Gilbert to watch this one got their money’s worth.

Brophy needed four sets to beat No. 6 Highland High in the semifinals, but its 6’7″ senior hitter, Andrew Lincoln, had a banner night to lead the way to the title game, contributing 25 kills to overpower the Hawks.

Lincoln, who will be playing for BYU next year, piled up 30 more kills in the the championship match.  But Hamilton relied on its usual game of steady ball control and solid defense.

It was a defensive effort by Hamilton’s George Gilliam that set the stage for the win in the final set when he blocked Adam Randolph with the Huskies leading 14-12 to set up the set and match point.  A defensive error by Brophy when Lincoln was called for a lift closed out Hamilton’s drive to the title.

For pure drama and excitement, you couldn’t beat what this championship encounter had to offer.  All of the first four sets were close, and the fifth set kept everyone on the edge of their seats – those that weren’t standing and yelling.  Down the stretch of the fifth set, Brophy took a slim 9-8 lead, and then it narrowed to 11-10 before the Huskies were able to climb back into a 13-11 lead that teetered the rest of the way.

Richard Reid and Sam Haggard led the offensive attack for Hamilton, each throwing down 22 kills, and Haggard also added 15 digs to his night’s work.  Team-leading performances were also turned in by libero A.J. Kalinowki, who had 18 digs for the Huskies, and setter Scottie Wiest, who spread the opportunities around with 64 assists.