Local spikers among those excelling at Utah Summer Games

The SUVA team, from St. George, poses with the winning bracket. Pictured are (l to r) Nikki Stevens, Mykelle Groskreutz, Kalee Whipple, Brittany Attig, Breena Liston, Lusia Angilau, Whitnee Tupe and Colbie Murphy.

CEDAR CITY – The courts and fields in high school sports may be quiet during the blazing heat of summer, but that doesn’t mean local sports doesn’t have some serious competition going on.

The Utah Summer Games is into its second week of fierce battles, from the soccer pitches, to the golf courses, inside the basketball arenas and out on the softball fields.

We’ve already seen champs crowned and gold medals awarded in such sports as pickleball, golf, fencing, youth soccer, swimming and gymnastics.

One sport that generated a lot of local interest was the women’s open volleyball competition. The St. George-based SUVA team (Southern Utah Volleyball Academy), stocked with former Dixie State and local high school players, took gold in the tight open tournament.

“This was the highest competition,” SUVA’s Nikki Stevens said. “There weren’t really any weak teams. There were no blowouts.”

Stevens admits they didn’t practice together before the games, but most of the team has played together, whether in the local high schools, at SUVA or at Dixie State.

“It was a little rough the first match we had,” she said. “We had some trouble figuring out the rotation and stuff and lost a match we probably shouldn’t have.”

That loss was the only one of the tourney for SUVA and it came at the hands of the Ace team, based out of Logan, during pool play. After the first day of pool play that determined seeding, the open division became a single-elimination tournament.

Ace was riding high, having captured gold in the 2011 games and having beaten SUVA on Day One.

Both teams cruised through to the finals, but this time it would be SUVA who captured the coveted first-place title. The three-game match was decided in overtime with SUVA winning 18-16.

SUVA, which is a southern Utah-based club team for girls 12-18-years-old, sponsors an open team every year at the Utah Summer Games. The team is assembled by SUVA owner Michelle Murphy. This year’s team featured Stevens, Mykelle Groskreutz, Kalee Whipple, Brittany Attig, Breena Liston, Lusia Angilau, Whitnee Tupe, Colbie Murphy and Robin Felder.

The Utah Summer Games continue this week with championships being decided in baseball, adult and youth basketball, horseshoes, tennis and ultimate Frisbee.

The games conclude next week with champions being crowned in archery, cycling and fast-pitch softball.

The Utah Summer Games’ marquee event is the track and field championships, which take place Jun. 29-30 at the Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City.

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Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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