Region 9 volleyball: Thunder stunner as D-Hills gets a sweep at Snow Canyon

Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — When the final point went up on the scoreboard and the fans started to process what had just happened, there was an ever so brief period of quiet on the Snow Canyon court. It was as if everyone in the gym had a hard time believing what they had just witnessed.

region-9-volleyballBut surprising as it was, there was no doubt who had the better team Tuesday night as Desert Hills swept Snow Canyon in three straight games on the Warriors own floor on senior night, 25-23, 25-22, 25-11.

Alex Garrett and Courtney Sheeran were spectacular as the Thunder overcame a big deficit in the first game, held off a late SC rally in Game 2 and then dominated Game 3.

“We’ve been working so hard,” Garrett said. “Coach just tells us to get a little better every practice, every game. Take it one step at a time.”

In the big picture, this win doesn’t mean a whole ton as far as standings. With a win Thursday at fourth place Dixie, Snow Canyon will still be region champion and the top-seed in the upcoming state playoffs. The Thunder have pretty much clinched second place, instead of leaving it to chance and a coin flip with Hurricane. But this win also means something else to Desert Hills.

Alex Garrett (3) splits the Warriors defense, Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon,  St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News
Alex Garrett (3) splits the Warriors defense, Desert Hills vs. Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, Oct. 21, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

“It gets us over the hump,” DH coach Jill Swaney said. “Snow Canyon has a fantastic team and they’re going to great things at state. But we think we can, too. Mentally, this helps us a lot.”

No one was surprised when the Warriors came out and dominated the first half of the first game. Alexsa “Crash” Parker had seven kills in helping Snow Canyon build a 15-8 lead. The margin stayed steady until 21-13. After an SC dink looked like a sure point to make it 22-13, somehow the Thunder got the dig, eventually setting up a Garrett kill. The rest of Game 1 was all Desert Hills, with the Thunder pulling to within 23-17 and Sheeran taking her turn at the service line. The DH senior never left the line either, nailing a couple of aces and a kill to help the Thunder score the last eight points and the first game.

“Courtney is definitely on of the best servers on our team,” Swaney said. “One of the things we wanted to do was serve it low and hard tonight, even if it meant giving up a few points on service errors.”

D-Hills then scored the first seven points of Game 2 — also with Sheeran serving — and eventually built up a 20-8 lead. Behind juniors Parker and Katie Fisher, Snow Canyon rallied and pulled to within 23-20, then to within 24-22. But a hitting error ended the second game and the upset was a real possibility with DH ahead two games to none.

The Thunder made sure the upset was complete by dominating the third game, opening up a 13-3 lead early behind kills by Rachel Winters and some timely blocks by Jenny Harris. Snow Canyon didn’t put up much of a fight and by the time it was 20-10, it was just a matter of playing out the final points.

“Emotion is fleeting and we’re going to enjoy this, but just for tonight,”Swaney said. “Tomorrow we’ll put this behind us and get back in the gym and get to work, trying to get a little better every day.”

The Thunder, 16-10 and 9-2 in region, close out league play Thursday at home against winless Canyon View. Snow Canyon, 21-3 and 10-1, got 11 kills from Parker. The Warriors are at Dixie Thursday.

Hurricane, the defending 3A champion, will likely be the third seed from the region. The Tigers, 20-8 and 9-3, beat Cedar 25-17, 25-20, 25-13 Tuesday night. Hurricane has a bye Thursday.

Region 9
SC 10 1 .911 21 3 .875
DH 9 2 .818 16 10 .615
Hurricane 9 3 .750 20 8 .714
Dixie 5 6 .455 9 13 .409
PV 3 8 .272 7 15 .318
Cedar 1 10 .089 7 14 .333
Canyon View 0 11 .000 0 13 .000

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