Lindsey Spivey volleyball

Tucson Local Media All Region Coach of the Year Lindsey Spivey celebrates with senior Caleb Crook during the Lions’ five-set win over Salpointe on Tuesday, May 7. 

As has the school year, the boys volleyball season has officially come to an end, with several local high schools reaching newfound heights on the hardwood this spring. 

We saw four of the five programs in northwest Tucson qualify for the state playoffs, with Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge and Mountain View making the cut. 

The Falcons, Lions and Nighthawks all made it into the 16-team tournament in 5A, with Catalina Foothills and Ironwood Ridge losing in the first round, while Mountain View advanced to the state final. 

We live in a volleyball-crazed region, with a glut of stars in our midst, so compiling this list was a bit of a challenge, given the myriad of options to choose from. 

Below are the young men that stood out the most in a memorable season of boys volleyball in Southern Arizona. 

Outside Hitter

Tyler Lerew

CDO junior

363 kills, 174 digs, 23 aces, .230 hit percentage, 

6 blocks

Lerew was a one-man wrecking crew for the Dorados this spring, finishing with the third-most kills of any player at any level in the state this season. The 6 foot 2 inch multisport athlete provided a lot of muscle and deft precision on the front line for Brian Swingle’s team, giving him someone to build his squad around for the 2020 campaign. Expect big things from Lerew and the Dorados next season after going 19-11 this year, as their squad should be chocked full of experienced talent a year from now.  

Right-side Hitter

Caleb Crook

Mountain View senior

327 kills, 218 digs, 76 blocks, 31 aces, .342 hit percentage

Crook was a core component of Lindsey Spivey’s team during the Lions’ memorable run to the 5A finale, giving the squad a cerebral presence on the front line. The 6 foot 2 inch hitter dominated opponents this spring, compiling an eye-popping hit percentage and number of kills for the Lions. Crook, along with fellow seniors like Elijah Elmer and Darean Schug, were key components of the Lions four-year rise to prominence. Crook might be one of the most underrated players in the region, given the larger-than-life presence of Elmer and Schug. He’s definitely deserving of a spot on this list, however, as he’s had an impressive high school career and a fitting coronation during his senior season. 

Opposite Hitter

Darean Schug

Mountain View senior

121 kills, 305 digs, 929 assists, 66 aces, .203 hit percentage, 56 blocks 

Schug was a tour de force for a Lions’ squad that advanced past the first round for the first time under Spivey this spring. There’s a reason why so many of Spivey’s players are on this list, and that’s that the Lions were loaded with top-notch talent this season. Schug’s calming presence was felt throughout the season, with his gutsy effort in the team’s second round match with Salpointe Catholic standing out the most. The 6 foot 1 inch senior was able to lead a ferocious comeback against the Lancers in that match, responding from a 2-sets-to-1 deficit to win the match in five sets. Schug came up huge in that match, with 14 digs, 2 aces, 5 kills and a .211 hit percentage in the victory. 

Setter

Joseph Robinson

Catalina Foothills junior

448 assists, 81 digs, 33 aces, 16 kills, .233 hit percentage

Robinson was a huge presence for coach Nic Thiltges’ squad this spring, setting up his teammates with ease all year long. Robinson’s presence enabled the Falcons to reach the first round of the 5A tournament, with an 18-14 record for the season. He should be able to guide the team farther next spring, with several starters returning for another year at the northside high school. Expect even greater production from Robinson in 2020, with the Falcons contending for the 5A crown.  

Middle Blocker

Elijah Elmer

Mountain View senior

306 kills, 87 blocks, 4 aces, .318 hit percentage, 60 digs

Elmer was the Lions’ main offensive force this spring, turning away countless kill attempts with an imposing presence along the net. The 6 foot 5 inch senior did everything that Spivey asked of him this season, imposing his will with ease, guiding the Lions to their best season to-date. Elmer wraps up his four-year career with 706 kills and 202 blocks, leaving a lasting legacy that will be looked up to by future Lions in the years to come. 

Libero

John Paul Semon

Ironwood Ridge sophomore

309 digs, 65 aces, 55 kills, .102 hit percentage 

Playing the libero position at any level is often a blue-collar, grueling task given the amount of diving and lunging that’s asked of the person that’s job is to guard the center of the court. Semon played the position with ease for the Nighthawks this season, providing a calming presence in the middle of their order for Ashleigh Houlton’s team, guiding the Nighthawks to the first round of the 5A playoffs after posting a 17-15 record for the year. The sophomore should provide Houlton with a piece to build around in the years ahead, with the Nighthawks poised to take another step as a program in 2020. 

Defensive Specialist

Aaron Gopp

Mountain View senior

126 digs, 17 aces, 5 kills, .036 hit percentage

Gopp is an unconventional volleyball specimen, standing in at 5 feet 5 inches tall, a foot shorter than most of his teammates. He’s a bundle of energy, however, sparking his brethren to play their butts off, which is an underrated quality in high school sports. Gopp has been able to carve out a niche for Spivey over the last four years, giving valuable effort on the team’s back line, while firing up the team whenever he’s on (or off) the court. The senior capped off a memorable career with an ace and a dig in the team’s straight set loss to Campo Verde in the 5A state title match on May 11.


 

Region Player of the Year

Elijah Elmer

Mountain View


Region Coach of the Year

Lindsey Spivey

Mountain View

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