ST. GEORGE — With Cedar being a half game behind Snow Canyon and Desert Hills, while Crimson lingers a game and a half right behind the Reds, Wednesday’s game was a crucial one for both teams.
If Cedar hoped to stay in the mix for a possible tie or Region 9 title, they needed to win this game. It was the same for the Mustangs, a loss would not only hurt their RPI rankings, but they would be two games out of first place with a game to go.
The first set would go back and forth after the Reds started the game sluggish. They would get back into the mix and eventually win the set 25-22. The slow starts plagued the Reds throughout the game.
In the second set, the Mustangs took over, winning 25-14.
“We kind of felt lethargic,” Reds head coach Nicole Anglin said. “We had our tournament this weekend, and we learned a lot about our resiliency. That second set we knew we could come back from it, so we just focused on each point and went from there.”
The Reds bounced back, taking the third and fourth sets 25-15 and 25-17. One thing that stood out during the game was the Reds’ use of tips instead of full swings. The Cedar hitters would tip the ball just over the blockers, and the Mustangs didn’t adjust. Adjustments are something that the Mustangs have struggled with throughout the season.
“It definitely is,” Mustangs head coach Alexa Mansfield said. “We need to get better at that and make adjustments as the game goes on, but definitely something we need to work on.”
Reds senior Japrix Weaver talked about how they switched it up between swinging and tipping the ball.
“We just know that we need to switch it up sometimes,” Weaver said. “If that’s where they are weak, then that’s what we go for. We did think about that, but we were also just trying to swing away as well.”
The Cedar hitters also did something that most teams in the region aren’t able to capitalize on, and that is hitting and getting kills down the line. Most hitters tend to hit the ball across the court, but both Weaver and Jaidi Willden did a good job of mixing it up, and giving Crimson Cliffs different looks.
“I think that’s one of our strong points because, Jaidi and I are both able to do that, and line is definitely harder to dig because it’s just faster, closer, and not as much reaction time,” Weaver said. “They had good blocks. Even when they did block us, I thought we did a good job picking it up and covering.”
After a tough weekend tournament, the Reds responded, and this was a big win for them.
“It’s huge,” said Anglin. “We’re trying to play one game at a time especially because the RPI is down, and with our tournament this weekend we kind of dropped a little lower than we wanted. We’re just trying to focus on each game and go from there.”
Crimson Cliffs is still in the mix, but so are other Region 9 teams. With great parity this year, the quality of games has helped all the teams in Region 9 get ready for the state tournament.
“Region 9 is crazy this year,” Mansfield said. “Everybody is beating everyone, and it really helps us feeding into the state tournament. We’re playing big games every single Tuesday and Thursday, and it’s fun to see so many Region 9 teams in the mix.”
Crimson Cliffs finishes off their season next week against Canyon View at home.
For Cedar, the biggest game of the year is on the horizon. They play crosstown rival Canyon View on Thursday and then follow it up with a game against the surging Snow Canyon Warriors.
The Warriors will enter the game on an eight game region win streak, and the two teams will battle it out for a share of the region title, or the title itself, depending on how Desert Hills finishes their year at Hurricane. The Cedar and Snow Canyon game will be played at Cedar, and it’s scheduled for 7 p.m on Tuesday.
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