Lady Warriors crash the party, join D-Hills in 4A semifinals

File photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

OREM – The Final Four of 4A Utah State Championship Volleyball has been set and the Snow Canyon Lady Warriors have crashed the party. The other three semifinalists, Sky View, Park City and Desert Hills, were expected to be there. They were ranked by as No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. What is Snow Canyon’s ranking? 13th.

It does not matter how you get there, and no one asks what your ranking was if you win it. Survive and advance. Win or go home. Whatever the slogan, the Lady Warriors are still playing for the 4A Championship. Below are game summaries of Region 9 teams in Wednesday’s action:

First-Round Games

Desert Hills 3, Tooele 0

For the second year in a row, the Lady Thunder sent Tooele into the consolation bracket by sweeping the lower seed in straight sets, 25-14, 25-12, 25-21.

Desert Hills’ big run in the first set came after trailing 7-6 early. The Sonju sisters combined for three service aces as the Thunder went on a 10-1 run. Kami Bliss contributed late in the run with a kill and a block. The lead grew to double digits on a Buffalo attack error at 23-13 en route to the 25-14 win.

In the second set, Desert Hills jumped out 8-3. Madi Clark had three kills early. The lead grew to double digits on a block from Clark to put the Thunder up 16-6. Clark’s service ace gave DHHS its biggest lead at 23-10. After Tooele eked out two more points, Allie Beck got the side out on a kill. Bliss then served out the set for the win.

The third set showed why Tooele was able to make a run last year in the consolation bracket. After trailing 8-4, the Lady Buffaloes scored six straight to take a 10-8 lead. The Thunder climbed back and tied the score at 13-13. Andie Sonju’s service ace got the lead back for the Thunder and Saselah Goulding’s kill put the Thunder up 16-13. Tooele would not go away, however, and when the Thunder committed two consecutive attack errors, coach Sharon Christensen called her second timeout with the Thunder leading 21-20.

“I told them to play each point individually,” said Coach Christensen. “Win each point. Stay focused.” Desert Hills then closed out the match on a 4-1 run with Kylee Christensen getting a kill for the final point.

For the match, Beck and Clark led the team with nine kills apiece. Bliss led the team with three blocks. Goulding and Andie Sonju had 15 and 14 assists, respectively. Recording double-digit digs were Halle Sonju (12), Andie Sonju (10) and Goulding (10).

Park City 3, Pine View 0

The Lady Panthers drew a tough first-round match, taking on the No. 1 seed from Region 11, Park City. Pine View went down in straight sets 25-11, 25-16, 25-19.

The Lady Miners showed their dominance early as they jumped out to a 17-6 first-set lead. PVHS head coach Kelly Murdock tried to stem the barrage with her timeouts, but it only delayed the inevitable as Park City rolled in the first set 25-11.

Pine View’s play sharpened increasingly in the final two sets, but the Lady Miners were never in any serious trouble as they were able to get a 3-4 point lead early and then gradually add to it as the sets progressed.

Dixie 3, Stansbury 1

The Lady Flyers overcame a heart-wrenching second-set loss to take the final two sets and advance over Stansbury, 25-17, 26-28, 28-26, 25-16.

Dixie broke out of a close contest midway through the first set. Two straight service aces by Brooklyn Wright had Dixie up 13-7. Stansbury did get within two, 15-13, but then Dixie scored four straight to go back up six. The Flyers would score the last four points of the first set.

The middle two sets both went into overtime. Dixie held a 23-17 advantage in the second, only to see Stansbury knot the score at 24-24. The Stallions then carried the momentum to a second-set win.

In the third set, it was the Flyers that were behind. In fact, Dixie did not see its first lead until 27-26. Ella Burrows then closed the set with a monster kill. The fourth set started the same way. But on Shawnee Jones’ service, the Flyers turned a 12-7 deficit into a 14-12 lead, the last point coming on Jones’ service ace. This time, the Flyers would not relinquish the lead. They went up six on Cara Bair’s service ace, 20-14. Jones’ kill put the score at 22-15. After a Stallion side out, Dixie closed the match with three consecutive points.

“We had a few jitters this game,” Flyer head coach Stacy Leavitt said. “Stansbury was scrappy. We settled down and started focusing on ourselves. That helped.”

Individually for the Flyers, Brooklyn Wright led the team with 33 assists. Halle Anderson had 20 digs and a 2.0 serve-receive passing ratio. Brynn Eardley and Ella Burrows had 15 and 10 kills, respectively. Shawnee Jones had a 2.2 passing ratio.

Snow Canyon 3, Juan Diego 1

Losing set two in convincing fashion seemed to light a fire under the Lady Warriors as they came back with a vengeance in the third set, then held off the Soaring Eagle in the fourth to win 25-22, 16-25, 25-15, 25-22.

Snow Canyon jumped out early on JDHS and then gradually added to its lead. The Warriors led 15-10 on Sammi Johnston’s kill. Juan Diego clawed back to tie it at 16-16. Then the teams tied four more times. The Lady Warriors finally got a two-point cushion at 22-20. Two more kills by Johnston put the score at 24-22. Sophie Robinson closed out the set with a block.

The second set saw Juan Diego take a slight lead and keep it throughout. The Warriors were still within striking distance when Savannah North’s block put SCHS within three, 19-16. But then Juan Diego could do no wrong. They scored the final six points of the set to even the match.

“I told our girls to enjoy the high level of competition and embrace the challenge of a competitive opponent,” Warrior head coach Ryan Rarick said. “I told them to play fearlessly. It was time to play to their capabilities.”

Whether it was what Warrior head coach Ryan Rarick said in between sets or the humbling end of the second set, the Lady Warriors came out in the third set on a tear. Before you could blink, the score was 14-5. No matter what Juan Diego did, Snow Canyon maintained the advantage and won easily.

The fourth set had almost the same beginning as the third. The score was 11-8 in favor of the Warriors when they scored six straight behind the service of Shayla Harris. Hallie Remond’s block put the Warriors up 19-10.

Then the Soaring Eagle played with desperation. They quickly closed the gap and only trailed 20-18. Two Juan Diego attack errors and another Johnston kill gave SCHS some breathing room at 23-18. But the Soaring Eagle then scored the next four before Rarick called timeout. The game ended on two more attack errors by Juan Diego, putting Snow Canyon into the next round.

Individually for Snow Canyon, Johnston led the team with 24 kills, three service aces, 16 digs and four blocks. Addie Tauanuu led the team with 30 assists. Savannah North also recorded four blocks. Others recording double-digit digs were Shayla Harris (11), Lizzy Rowland (11) and Jael Wilde (10).

Championship Bracket

Desert Hills 3, Ridgeline 1

Last year, the Lady Thunder entered the championship game unblemished. They did not drop a single set. This year Desert Hills dropped a set to Ridgeline. It was a wakeup call as the Lady Thunder rallied to take the last three to win 23-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-23.

In the first set, the two teams played evenly and at one point, the Thunder trailed 16-14. D-Hills then went on a 7-0 run. Allie Beck started the run with a kill. Madi Clark added a service ace. A collective block by Elisa George and Kami Bliss put the Thunder up 21-16. But Ridgeline clawed back to tie the score 22-22. After Desert Hills got a side out, the RiverHawks scored the last three points to take the set.

In the second set, the Thunder took a 10-7 advantage early. Desert Hills more than doubled its lead at 20-13. A block and kill by Clark put the Thunder up 22-13. Consecutive kills by Beck and Clark closed out the set.

In the fourth, the Thunder trailed 4-3 early. But then they went on a 19-2 run behind epic Thunder team play. The RiverHawks refused to quit, however. They would score the next eight points to make it 22-14. Desert Hills closed out 3-2 with their last two points on kills by Beck and Clark.

The RiverHawks were determined to take the match to five sets. They were able to take small leads throughout set four. The RiverHawks’ largest lead was 19-14. The Thunder closed the gap at 21-21 on Bliss’ service ace. Again, consecutive kills by Beck and Clark gave Desert Hills its first lead, 23-22. Ridgeline called its final timeout. But the Thunder carried the momentum forward and got the final point on a kill by Kylee Christensen.

“Both teams played well,” said Coach Christensen. “We had our opportunities in the first game, we just didn’t finish.”

Individually for the Thunder, Clark led the way with 17 kills. Beck and Bliss had 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Clark also led the team with four service aces. Goulding and Beck had three apiece. Bliss led the team with five blocks. Christensen and George had three apiece. Goulding and Andie Sonju had 22 assists apiece. Hallie Sonju led the team with 28 digs. Also recording double-digit digs were Clark (24), Goulding (16), Beck (14), Christensen (12), and Andie Sonju (11).

The Lady Thunder will now face Park City in the semifinals. The Lady Miners swept their first two opponents. Game time is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at UVU.

Snow Canyon 3, Mountain Crest 1

The Lady Warriors entered the quarterfinals as the higher seed as Mountain Crest upset No. 1 seeded Spanish Fork in the opening round. After the Lady Mustangs beat Snow Canyon in the first set, the Lady Warriors began to play like the higher seed and eliminated Mountain Crest in four, 27-29, 25-19, 25-13, 25-23.

Snow Canyon held a 16-11 lead in the first set and had the lead till the Mustangs tied the score at 23-23. The Warriors then failed to capitalize on three match points before losing the first set.

In the second set, the Warriors took the lead for good at 3-2 and never looked back. Savannah North scored the final point of the set with a kill. The third set was even more anticlimactic than the second. The Warriors led 9-3 on Sammi Johnston’s service ace. A Mustang attack error gave SCHS a 13-4 lead. Hallie Remond’s block gave Snow Canyon its first double digit lead at 17-7. Consecutive kills from Johnston and North put the Warriors up 19-8. The final two points came on a Jael Wilde service ace and a kill from Remond.

The fourth set saw Snow Canyon trailing most of the game. Mountain Crest’s largest lead came at 17-13. The Warriors then went on a 6-2 run to tie it at 19-19. Johnston had two kills during the run. Rowland’s service ace gave the Warriors a 20-19 lead. They would never trail again as they outscored Mountain Crest 5-4 behind three more kills by Johnston.

“The girls were surprisingly not downtrodden after the loss,” Rarick said. “They seemed to be even more determined. They responded with two strong wins. We knew that Mountain Crest would give us a battle in the fourth set. After we were down four points, I called a timeout and told the girls we did not need to do anything different. We just needed to our jobs better. Dig deep and battle.”

Individually for the Warriors, Johnston led the team with 15 kills and five service aces. Addie Tauanuu had 30 assists and three blocks. Savannah North also had three blocks. Jael Wilde led the team with 14 digs. Johnston and Shayla Harris had 12 and 11 digs, respectively. Wilde, Remond and Eliza Gibson had three service aces apiece.

The Warriors will now face No. 1-ranked Sky View at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Bobcats swept their first two opponents.

Sky View 3, Dixie 0

The prize for winning their first round match was a meeting with the No. 1-ranked team for the Lady Flyers. Sky View pulled out the win in straight sets, 25-22, 25-11, 25-22.

The first set saw Dixie take a slight early lead. Brynn Eardley’s service ace gave the Flyers a 7-3 advantage. Two consecutive kills by Lauren Beatty gave Dixie a 10-7 lead. The Lady Bobcats then went on a 7-0 run, forcing a timeout from Flyer head coach Stacy Leavitt. Dixie would come close (19-18), but would never regain the lead.

The Flyers came out very flat in the second set. Sky View took leads of 16-8, 19-9 and 23-10 before closing out the match. In the third set, Sky View again took the early lead. Dixie trailed until finally pulling ahead 18-17. The Bobcats pulled even at 19-19 and again at 20-20. But they outscored Dixie 5-2 down the stretch.

“Our girls played an uphill battle the whole match,” Leavitt said. “We had too many errors. When you play a team like Sky View, you have to be focused. You can’t have errors like we had tonight.”

Individually for the Flyers, Halle Anderson led the team with 17 digs. Brooklyn Wright and Shawnee Jones had 10 digs apiece. Wright also led the team with three service aces.

The Lady Flyers drop into the Consolation Bracket. They will play Mountain Crest Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

Consolation Bracket

Lehi 3, Pine View 0

The Lady Panthers had the unenviable draw of the No. 2-ranked team (Park City) in the opening round and the No. 4-ranked team, Lehi, in the opening round of the consolation bracket. The Lady Pioneers were upset in the opening round by Green Canyon and took out their frustration on Pine View, winning in straight sets 25-16, 25-14, 25-20.

Lehi took double-digit leads in the first two sets before coasting to wins. But the Lady Pioneers had to fight from behind to win in the third set. Pine View held a 13-10 advantage before eventually ending their tournament run.

To access the tournament bracket, click here.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Brett October 26, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Great pics of the action! Oh wait, there weren’t any. That’s right. I was told the SG News didn’t feel it was worth the cost of sending a photographer to the tournament. That’s a shame. I hope paying advertisers don’t catch wind of their ho-hum attitude towards our kids’ athletic events. Oh wait, I’M a paying advertiser. Or at least I WAS a paying advertiser. Shame on you SG News.

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