State tourney begins today at UVU for Region 9’s top volleyball teams

Snow Canyon defenders Shaylee Reed (left) and Jordan Gines (right) look to block Tiera Orr's spike, Snow Canyon vs Desert Hills Volleyball, St. George, Utah, September 23, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

OREM –– Snow Canyon, Desert Hills, Hurricane and Dixie all begin their postseason quest for a state volleyball championship today at Utah Valley University’s McKay Events Center.

Three of those teams, the Warriors, Thunder and Tigers, have all won championships in recent years and figure to be major players as the 3A State Volleyball Tournament plays out today and Thursday.

Alexsa "Crash" Parker, Snow Canyon vs Desert Hills Volleyball, St. George, Utah, September 23, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Alexsa “Crash” Parker, Snow Canyon vs Desert Hills Volleyball, St. George, Utah, September 23, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Snow Canyon, the Region 9 champ with an 11-1 record, won five straight titles from 2006 to 2010 under head coach Alaina Parker. Salt Lake media has the Warriors ranked fourth, despite their region title and best record in the state of 22-3. SC did suffer a late-season, straight-set loss to Desert Hills, but also beat the Thunder earlier in the year. Snow Canyon has also beaten Morgan, the current No. 1 team and swept No. 5 Hurricane this season. The Warriors, led by Alexsa “Crash” Parker and senior Jordan Gines, have not played second-ranked Tooele.

Snow Canyon opens the tourney today with a 3:30 p.m. match against Grantsville with a second match scheduled for 6:30 p.m. against either Payson or Union.

Alex Garrett, Snow Canyon vs Desert Hills Volleyball, St. George, Utah, September 23, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Alex Garrett, Snow Canyon vs Desert Hills Volleyball, St. George, Utah, September 23, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Desert Hills enters the tourney with a 17-10 record and is ranked third. The Thunder feature a pair of dynamic seniors in Alex Garrett and Courtney Sheeran. The Thunder were 9-10 at one point this season and were sitting at 2-2 in region after losses to Snow Canyon and Hurricane. But since that SC loss on Sept. 23, D-Hills has won eight straight games, including bounce back wins over both the Warriors and Tigers. DH opens its tournament experience with a 5 p.m. match against Bear River, followed by an 8 p.m. match vs. either North Sanpete or Uintah.

Hurricane, the surprising upset winner over Desert Hills in last year’s state championship match, lost three region games this season — twice to Snow Canyon and once to Desert Hills. The Tigers, 20-8, are led by outside hitter Rachel Nielsen and setter Addie Edwards. Hurricane, currently ranked fifth, opens with Stansbury at 5 p.m. today and could face No. 1-ranked Morgan in tonight’s 8 p.m. second-round game.

Dixie, which went 5-7 in region this season, opens with No. 2–ranked Tooele at 3:30 p.m. with a second-round game at 6:30 p.m. against either Park City or Carbon.

The 3A Tournament, while a double-elimination tourney, is a consolation bracket, which means with a loss, the best a team can finish is third place.

The tournament continues Thursday with the championship match scheduled for 8 p.m.

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