ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills volleyball coach Jill Swaney has some bad news for the rest of the state 3A volleyball teams: The Thunder may just be better than last year.
Desert Hills, the defending state champion, won its fourth straight Region 9 match, defeating Snow Canyon in straight sets 25-18, 25-20, 25-23 Tuesday night in a battle of region unbeatens at SCHS.
“Overall, we have more depth than last year,” Swaney said. “It’s a different team , with different players, but I’d say we’re probably a little stronger.”
That has to be unsettling for the rest of the classification, but the Thunder have proven it so far, winning all four region matches in straight sets. Desert Hills’ only non-league losses came to 5A powerhouses Lehi and Lone Peak.
But Swaney is quick to point out that stronger does not mean unbeatable.
“I took a lot of notes tonight on things that we can improve on,” she said. “There’s always room to get better. Snow Canyon made a big run on us in that last set and had us
at 23-20. We were able to get the last five points and beat them, but in the process, I could see some of our weaknesses.”
Swaney praised the Warriors, who are in a bit of a rebuilding process.
“Everyone knows they are very young, but we did not go into the match expecting to beat them,” she said. “They took a game off of us last week in the (Rocky Mountain Classic) tournament. They’re always good at the fundamentals.”
Snow Canyon was able to put the Thunder on the defensive with some sharp serving. Desert Hills setter Alexa Goulding led the team in assists, but also had a team-high in digs. Blair Bliss and Sammy Loe led DH with 14 and 12 kills, respectively.
“Their great servers pulled us out of system,” Swaney said. “Fortunately, we did a good job out of system. When your right side setter (Goulding) dug the ball more than your defensive players, then other players on the court have to step in and do her job. We did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
Returning from injury for the 4-0 Thunder was Alex Garret. Desert Hills also expects junior Courtney Sheeran back in about a week after missing time with torn ligaments.
Desert Hills returns home for another battle of undefeated teams Thursday night when Hurricane visits the Thunderdome. It will be a “Pink Out” Thursday at DH with fans and players wearing pink in a show of solidarity in the fight against cancer.
Snow Canyon, 3-5 overall and 2-0 in region, plays at Dixie Thursday.
Hurricane def. Cedar (25-14, 25-7, 26-24)
The Tigers improved to 3-0 in region (7-3 overall) with the straight set win. Brooklyn Gubler had 10 kills for Hurricane, which plays at Desert Hills Thursday night.
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