It was going to take big doings to get the Perry volleyball program to the next level.
And Ethan Fillmore was up for it.
The senior outside hitter was the main cog in helping the Pumas to the Division I title game for the first time after winning 35 matches, including knocking off No. 1 Desert Vista in the semifinals.
The Pumas finished as state runner-up, but went deeper than any Perry squad and created a new standard for the program.
Right in the middle of it was Fillmore, the Tribune’s Volleyball Player of the Year.
“We’ve never had big crowds like they get at Gilbert or Highland,” he said. “By the end of the year, everyone was coming to our matches. It made a difference in some of the matches.”
Perry lost on the road in the quarterfinals in previous years, but getting that home match helped pushed the Pumas beyond.
That and they had the 6-foot-2 Fillmore swinging from the outside as he finished with 432 kills in his first year as the true go-to hitter.
“There is nothing like going up for that kill, the ball perfectly placed and nothing but open court in front of you,” said Fillmore, who is heading out in a church mission to Mexico Querétaro. “We had such good ball movement that I was swinging with no one in front of me.”
Fillmore pitched in on all fronts as he also had 32 blocks, 43 aces and 225 digs to earn all-state honors in the coaches’ voting.
“We had a great season that we will go down as one of the best in school history,” he said. “We all had our roles and accepted them. The seniors get to walk away knowing we really made a difference and hopefully the younger players will keep it going.”
All-Tribune Boys Volleyball
Pos. Name School
OH Andrew Betlach Seton Catholic
OH Ethan Fillmore Perry
MB Deric Hancock Desert Vista
MB Jacob Guerber Desert Ridge
L Anthony Cook Seton Catholic
S Jeff Tomlinson Perry
Player of the Year: Ethan Fillmore, Perry
Coach of the Year: Nick Price, Seton Catholic: The creation of a second division proved bountiful to Sentinels as Price did a nice job of keeping the team on point
Pos. Name School
OH Travis Seideman Desert Vista
OH Trevor Weary Horizon Honors
MB Arian Bunthanom Hamilton
Opp Ryan Iksander Corona del Sol
L Mitchel Worthington Desert Ridge
S Joey McCarty Desert Vista
Kade Pace, Campo Verde; Johnny Bowles, Chandler; Chris Davis, Corona del Sol; Antonio Guarino, Corona del Sol; Andrew Craven, Combs; Tanner Bowman, Desert Ridge; Jacob Nukols, Corona del Sol; Jacob Leavitt, Hamilton; Forrest Clare, Highland, Jacob Gustin, Highland; Cole Crismon, Higley; Aaron Tam, Horizon Honors; Brandon Jones, Marcos de Niza; Jordan Cox, Mesa; Mason Kahn, Mesquite; Tanner Fishbeck, Mountain View; Jason Tomlinson, Perry; Tommy Randolph, Seton Catholic; Noah Williams, Seton Catholic; Alan Gomez, Skyline; Wyatt Lowell, Williams Field.