On senior night at Mountain View High School last Wednesday, junior Scott Jenks shone like a blazing star, hitting 11 kills in leading the Mountain Lions volleyball team to victory over Sierra Vista Buena 25-18, 25-10, and 25-12.
"We wanted to play hard for the seniors," said Jenks, who's also the team captain. "In that first game, we had nervousness and jitters."
The Mountain Lions staggered out of the gate, losing the first six points and forcing coach Rick Ellis to call a time-out. Sierra Vista went on to increase the lead to 10-2.
"Senior night you always come a little slow," Ellis said. "Players try not to overstep the seniors."
But the play of Kyle Peppe, who served seven points in a row, helped Mountain View get back into it.
Stephan Wooten's spike tied the score at 13-13. The Mountain Lions went on a 7-3 run to take a 20-16 lead.
After a long rally, Wooten powered home the game-winning shot for a 25-18 win.
Game two was closely contested at 8-8 before Mountain View's front line took control of the net, keying an 8-0 run.
The front line's size and dominance showed in the team stats, as Mountain View had the advantage in kills, 34-5, and in blocks, 14-1.
In the second game, Jenks couldn't stop scoring points, and the lead shot up to 20-10.
"Scottie took over," Ellis said. "The setter (Chris Darris) put him into position."
Darris has been the setter the Lions missed earlier in the year, particularly in a loss to mighty Salpointe. Darris finished the night with 29 assists, a very good total for three games.
By game three, there was no drama left for the Mountain Lions.
This time, they avoided the slow start, and opened up a 14-7 lead. Jenks served six points in a row to give the home team a 22-8 lead, before Peppe served it out.
"In the second and third games we stepped it up," Jenks said. "We're ready for the playoffs.
"We have our center back. We're more lethal now."
Lethal enough to win 10 out of 11 matches down the stretch. That one loss was to Salpointe. The Salpointe Lancers are the top-seeded Arizona school in 5A-play.
"Having Chris Darris back helps," Ellis said. "The regionals will allow us to play Salpointe with our whole roster."
"We feel good because we're healthy and we're big."
The Mountain Lions ended their regular season on Friday with a make-up match, which they lost to Catalina Foothills. Foothills is the top-seeded school in 4A.
Regionals take place this week, while state begins the week of May 9. Mountain View hopes to host its first state match. "We've never hosted a state game before," Ellis said.
What are their chances at state?
"When we pass well, we do good," Ellis said. "We have a good passing team."