Survive and advance: Utah State 3A volleyball tournament in Orem today

Desert Hills vs. Dixie, Volleyball, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2016, | Photo by Megan Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

OREM – The 3A volleyball teams are packing up and heading to Orem. The 16 teams competing are almost identical to last year’s entries. The only newcomers are Ridgeline and Juab, who square off in the first round. Last year Morgan had to win its opening round game then defeat three straight Region 9 teams (Pine View, Desert Hills, Snow Canyon) to win the championship.

But they did so in dominant fashion. Look for Morgan and Region 9 to dominate once again. However, Park City also looks like it could join the mix. Snow Canyon has taken a step back this year, but the top three teams from Region 9 are capable of knocking off the Lady Trojans. Below are the team capsules and predictions for the first two rounds of the tournament:

Volleyball Team Capsules and STGNews Picks

FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS

Match 1 Juan Diego v. Richfield; Court 1, 4 p.m.

JUAN DIEGO SOARING EAGLE (Draper)
Coach: Stephanie Jones
Overall Record: 15-8
Region 11 Record: 8-2 (2nd)
Record against the field: 7-3
Current Ranking: 6th

RICHFIELD WILDCATS
Coach: Holly Robinson
Overall Record: 19-11
Region 12 Record: 5-3 (3rd)
Record against the field: 5-5
Current Ranking: 8th

A close first-round matchup, but the Soaring Eagle has fared better against stiffer competition. Pick: Juan Diego

Match 2 Desert Hills v. Tooele, Court 2, 4 p.m.

DESERT HILLS THUNDER (St. George)
Coach: Jill Swaney
Overall Record: 22-7
Region 9 Record: 10-0 (1st)
Record against the field: 8-0
Current Ranking: 2nd

TOOELE BUFFALOES
Coach: Kristi Brown
Overall Record: 8-18
Region 10 Record: 3-5
Record against the field: 3-9
Current Ranking: 13th

Desert Hills lost only two sets in their sweep of Region 9, arguably the best region from top to bottom. Pick: Desert Hills

Match 3 Park City v. Snow Canyon, Court 3, 4 p.m.

PARK CITY MINERS
Coach: Matthew Carlson
Overall Record: 20-9
Region 10 Record: 8-0
Record against the field: 12-1
Current Ranking: 4th

SNOW CANYON WARRIORS (St. George)
Coach: Ryan Rarick
Overall Record: 7-19
Region 9 Record: 4-6
Record against the field: 2-11
Current Ranking: 12th

A down year for the Warriors, but promising young talent in the lower ranks. The Miners will win this one though. Pick: Park City

Match 4 Juab v. Ridgeline, Court 4, 4 p.m.

JUAB WASPS (Nephi)
Coach: Amber Allred
Overall Record: 16-11
Region 12 Record: 5-3
Record against the field: 4-4
Current Ranking: 10th

RIDGELINE RIVERHAWKS (Millville)
Coach: Katie Ormsby
Overall Record: 10-12
Region 11 Record: 5-5
Record against the field: 2-6
Current Ranking: 11th

The two teams that were not in last year’s tournament meet in the first round. Another tight matchup. Pick: Juab

Match 5 Union v. Pine View, Court 1, 5:30 p.m.

UNION COUGARS (Roosevelt)
Coach: Analaine Mailoto
Overall Record: 13-11
Region 10 Record: 5-3
Record against the field: 5-3
Current Ranking: 9th

PINE VIEW PANTHERS (St. George)
Coach: Kelly Murdock
Overall Record: 18-11
Region 9 Record: 6-4
Record against the field: 4-3
Current Ranking: 7th

Rankings are close, but Pine View had better record against tougher competition. Pick: Pine View

Match 6 North Sanpete v. Logan, Court 2, 5:30 p.m.

NORTH SANPETE HAWKS (Mt. Pleasant)
Coach: Rickie Stewart
Overall Record: 24-4
Region 12 Record: 8-0
Record against the field: 8-1
Current Ranking: 3rd

LOGAN GRIZZLIES
Coach: Jenn Ioane
Overall Record: 5-15
Region 11 Record: 4-6
Record against the field: 0-7
Current Ranking: 17th

Not the most lopsided first-round matchup, but close. Pick: North Sanpete

Match 7 Morgan v. Canyon View, Court 3, 5:30 p.m.

MORGAN TROJANS
Coach: Liz Wiscombe
Overall Record: 23-3
Region 10 Record: 10-0
Record against the field: 7-0
Current Ranking: 1st

CANYON VIEW FALCONS (Cedar City)
Coach: Cristy Crane
Overall Record: 6-16
Region 12 Record: 2-6
Record against the field: 0-10
Current Ranking: 20th

Canyon View’s reward for making the field—first-round match against top-ranked defending champion Morgan. Pick: Morgan

Match 8 Dixie v. Stansbury, Court 4, 5:30 p.m.

DIXIE FLYERS (St. George)
Coach: Stacy Leavitt
Overall Record: 13-12
Region 9 Record: 7-3
Record against the field: 6-4
Current Ranking: 5th

STANSBURY STALLIONS (Tooele)
Coach: Erika Smith
Overall Record: 8-15
Region 12 Record: 3-5
Record against the field: 3-8
Current Ranking: 15th

Dixie finished strong in Region 9., including a win over the Lady Stallions in the Claim Jumper tournament October 8th. Pick: Dixie

SECOND ROUND

WINNERS BRACKET (Wednesday)

Match 9: Juan Diego v. Desert Hills, Court 3, 7 p.m.

Two teams without any common opponents. Strength of schedule and talent go to the Thunder though. Pick: Desert Hills

Match 10: Park City v. Juab, Court 2, 7 p.m.

Rematch from Sept. 8 when the Lady Miners prevailed 3-1. Most of Park City’s losses come at the hands of bigger schools. Pick: Park City

Match 11: Pine View v. North Sanpete, Court 3, 8:30 p.m.

One common opponent is Dixie. Pine View split with the Flyers while North Sanpete lost to Dixie 3-1. Pick: Pine View

Match 12: Morgan v. Dixie, Court 2, 8:30 p.m.

Morgan has been dominant all year, but not as good as last year’s team and definitely beatable if opponent plays the perfect game. Pick: Morgan

ONE-LOSS BRACKET (Wednesday)

Match 13: Richfield v. Tooele, Court 4, 7 p.m.

Richfield is stronger on paper, but memories of last year’s tournament when Tooele went on a run defeating several higher-seeded teams may make me regret my choice. Pick: Richfield

Match 14: Snow Canyon v. Ridgeline, Court 1, 7 p.m.

It has been a down year for the Lady Warriors who were hit hard with graduation and injury, but should oust Ridgeline in their first year. Pick: Snow Canyon

Match 15: Union v. Logan, Court 4, 8:30 p.m.

Union should not have any trouble with the Lady Grizzlies, arguably the weakest team in the tournament. Pick: Union

Match 16: Canyon View v. Stansbury, Court 1, 8:30 p.m.

Coach Cristy Crane is fun to watch, and her Lady Falcons project her feistiness on the floor. But I have to give the edge to the Lady Stallions. Pick: Stansbury

State Tournament info: 3a-bracket (pdf)

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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