Sunrise Mountain outlasts Canyon View in pivotal 5-set region match

April 4, 2023 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Sunrise Mountain celebrates after clinching its five set region victory Tuesday on the road. Jose Garcia/azpreps365

Canyon View had its chances to close it out and the best player on the floor.

But the struggling Sunrise Mountain Mustangs wiggled their way out of trouble and Canyon View with a win.

Tuesday’s five set victory (19-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-23, 16-14) over the conference’s second ranked team left the Mustangs alone atop the 5A Northwest Region.

“Some of the things we pride ourselves on at Sunrise Mountain is being scrappy, hanging around and figuring out ways to win,” coach Tony Gale said.

The Mustangs trailed 11-8 and 13-11 in the final set and 22-18 in the fourth set but didn’t fold.

Down the stretch they executed in the areas—passing and serving—they struggled at times. A service error after a timeout, however, allowed Canyon View to tie the fifth game, 14-14.

But a Bryston Hines kill on the outside and Canyon View’s failed attempt to get the ball over on the last play handed Sunrise Mountain the match.

“Honestly, we just cut down on our errors and started blocking better,” said Sunrise Mountain captain Caelan Koth, who led his team with 19 kills. “We also starting passing better and served a little bit harder to get them out of system more.”

On the final play of Tuesday’s thriller, the player who almost strong-armed his team to victory, Tucker Lambert, fell and apparently injured his right elbow.

A hush fell over the crowd and Sunrise Mountain’s players took a knee as Lambert lay on the floor. The 6-6 pin hitter eventually stood up and received a round of applause.

He deserved it and the praise he received throughout the match for unloading some powerful hits and jump serves. One of those hits may have bruised the shoulder of a Sunrise Mountain player.

Another one blistered the floor near the attack line.

After every Lambert kill, Canyon View’s bench starting chanting, “He’s a killer.”

Canyon View's Tucker Lambert's (No. 16) blasts caused a lot of damage Tuesday. Jose Garcia/azpreps365

Another player who had an outstanding night on the kill end was Sunrise Mountain senior Dalton Graham, who hit .500 and tallied 15 kills, mostly from the middle. Sunrise Mountain (17-4 overall, 4-0 in region) has been playing without one of its talented middle blockers, Zach Northey, who is inured.

But junior Sam Maskovich stepped in and had four blocks Tuesday. Maskovich’s teammate Kyle Anderson (20 digs) and Canyon View’s libero, John Vinson, stood out defensively.

And Pacen Graghead (55 assists) had himself a game for Sunrise Mountain as well. After the match, Canyon View (17-3, 4-1) had a long heart-to-heart on the court.

It'll attempt to regroup Thursday at Verrado. On April 25th, Canyon View will get another shot at Sunrise Mountain, which hosts Higley on Friday.