VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When it comes to Ironwood Ridge's girls volleyball team, the Nighthawks don't rebuild, they reload or even better, redefine.
Ironwood Ridge swept Cienega in three sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-20) Tuesday night in Vail to open the 2015 high school volleyball season.
Senior Macy Kurtz led all hitters with 13 kills. Nighthawks setter Kayley Mohr provided 40 assists for her offense while Imani Litz had six kills for Cienega.
Ironwood Ridge was the state runner-up last season in Division II, losing to Phoenix Sunnyslope 3-1 in the title match. Sunnyslope however is gone to Division I thanks to realignment and the Nighthawks come into 2015 pre-season ranked 5th in a poll put out by the Arizona Republic.
Head coach Bill Lang though has to replace nine seniors off the squad that led Ironwood Ridge to their seventh state Final Four appearance in eight seasons.
The Bobcats finished tied for second in Section II last season with Sahuaro, a half game behind Salpointe Catholic. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Cougars.
The Nighthawks this season will remain in what is now an ultra-powerful Division II Section V where they will be aligned with the Lancers, Tucson and Catalina Foothills.
The Bobcats are in the revamped Section I where they will continue to battle Sahuaro along with Buena and Rincon-University.