The 2014 3A State Volleyball Tournament, Orem, Utah, Oct. 29, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
OREM — With three of four semifinal teams from Region 9, no one can doubt that the balance of power is heavily in southern Utah’s favor this volleyball season.
As expected, Snow Canyon and Desert Hills cruised easily into the semis, with the Warriors winning twice in straight sets and the Thunder dropping just a single game in two matches. A surprising third team, the Dixie Flyers, also moved into the final four, with Morgan the only non-Region 9 team still playing in the winner’s bracket.
“We have some great teams in southern Utah and this just shows that,” Snow Canyon coach Alaina Parker said. “We get good crowds and play each other tough, which prepares us for a tournament like this.”
The Warriors made quick work of both of their opponents, ousting Grantsville 25-6, 25-9, 25-12. After a 90-minute break, Snow Canyon resumed its impressive play by downing Union 25-20, 25-18, 25-14.
“We stayed focused and played in the moment, with good energy,” Parker said. “This atmosphere, it’s loud and chaotic. But we’re used to that. We play in a lot of hostile environments in our region. It’s loud and it’s fun and it’s good.”
Desert Hills struggled early in its first round match with Bear River. With the match tied at one game each and the Thunder down early against the Bears in the third game, DH coach Jill Swaney took a time out to help her team get refocused. The rest of the match and the rest of the day would belong to D-Hills. The Thunder beat Bear River 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 25-19, then came back later Wednesday evening and swept North Sanpete, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22. The Hawks were the top-seed from Region 12.
The Flyers, who finished 5-7 in region and entered the tourney as a No. 4 seed, served notice from the start that they were a force to be reckoned with. Facing No. 2-ranked Tooele, winners of Region 11, Dixie jumped out with a 25-22 win on the first game. The Buffaloes countered with a 25-23 win in Game 2, but Dixie would take Games 3 (27-25) and 4 (25-19) to send Tooele to the consolation bracket.
After the upset victory, the Flyers returned to the court for a quarterfinal match against Park City, a two-seed from Region 10. Again, Dixie started hot and ended up with a four-game win, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20. The Flyers, 11-14 on the season, now battle Snow Canyon in the early semifinal at 10:30 Thursday at UVU’s McKay Events Center. The Warriors swept both meetings from Dixie this season, including one just a week ago in the regular-season finale.
The fourth semifinalist, Morgan, swept Hurricane in the quarterfinals, 25-19, 25-18, 25-15. The No. 1-ranked Trojans swept Richfield in the opening round as well and will face off against Desert Hills in the other semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Morgan, 23-4, went undefeated in Region 10 at 8-0.
Hurricane opened the day with an exciting battle vs. Stansbury. The Tigers prevailed in four games, 26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 25-13. WIth the loss to Morgan, Hurricane will battle in the consolation bracket, taking on North Sanpete at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
All totaled, Region 9 teams went 7-1 on the day and won 21 of 28 games.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Griffin has been in sports media since 1989 and has covered BYU, Utah State and the Utah Jazz as well as all sports in southern Utah. A journalism graduate of USU, Andy has carried on a dual career as both a sports writer and a sports broadcaster and has been heard around the country. He has also been published in USA Today, Sport magazine, The Sporting News, Fairways magazine, the Los Angeles Times and locally in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Spectrum. Andy was “The Voice of Region 9 sports,” for many years. He also hosted a daily sports talk show for three years called AG in the a.m.
Andy has been married to his college sweetheart Shelly for 28 years and has five children ages 13 to 25.