4A state volleyball recap: Desert Hills advances to finals after hard fought win over Crimson Cliffs

Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs at the 4A state volleyball championship tournament, Orem, Utah, Oct. 28, 2021 | Photo by Mark Musgrave, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Region 10 high school volleyball teams were well represented at the 4A state tournament, and the region champs will have something to say about who wins the overall title.

Desert Hills swept Green Canyon 3-0 Thursday night and then beat Crimson Cliffs 3-1 in the semifinals Friday morning to advance to tonight’s championship match against Ridgeline.

St. George News spoke with Thunder coach Craig Allred by telephone from the campus of Utah Valley University, site of the 4A state championship tournament.

“Crimson is a really good team and it was a tough fought match,” Allred said. “The third set ended up going over 25 points, and then in the fourth set both teams played really well.”

Allred said that the Thunder put the Mustangs in a tough spot and they battled back. And then Crimson Cliffs returned the favor, putting the Thunder in a tough spot and forcing them to battle back.

Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs at the 4A state volleyball championship tournament, Orem, Utah, Oct. 28, 2021 | Photo by Mark Musgrave, St. George News

“Our kids fought back into it and came out on top in the end,” Allred said.

The final scores indicate how close the match was as Desert Hills took the first two sets, winning 25-19 and 27-25.

Crimson Cliffs got back into the match with a tense 27-25 win in the third set, but then the Thunder wrapped up the match with a 25-20 fourth set victory.

All of the Desert Hills seniors play key roles for the Thunder.

Allred said Sa’de Turnlington is battling through illness and playing her heart out.

“Julia Jacobsen just kind of sets the tone for everyone else, she does everything for us,” Allred said. “Brooke (Haguewood) had some key kills for us and some really big digs. Maleia Thurber had a great game up against Crimson’s middles.”

And the coach said libero Mckayla Allred has also had a strong showing at the tournament.

“It’s always a little fun to have your daughter out on the court playing,” Allred said. “I’m super proud of everyone. It’s fun being here, we brought the whole team and it’s fun to see the freshmen and sophomores cheering their guts out for the team.”

Allred added that the Thunder juniors make key contributions as well.

“It’s really  a cohesive, fun group,” Allred said. “That’s what it’s all about, is the team. That’s what got us here, more than individual accomplishments. They’re willing to sacrifice personal goals for the betterment of the team.”

The final hurdle to the state title will not be easy. Desert Hills faces a Ridgeline team that earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament with a 23-6 record. The Riverhawks beat Mountain Crest 3-1 and swept Sky View 3-0 en route to tonight’s championship match.

“It’s going to be a tough match for sure,” Allred said. “It’s nice to have some strategies going in, but it will be won or lost on one side of the net or the other. If we do what we want to do we’re going to be in good shape, just like they will be in good shape if they do what they want to do.”

Tonight’s state final is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be streamed live at the Utah High School Activities Association website.

4A state tournament recap

Crimson Cliffs finished on a high note, sweeping Sky View 3-0 to finish third in the state tournament. The Mustangs beat the Bobcats 26-24, 25-11, 25-20 to bring their excellent season to an end.

Crimson Cliffs volleyball wins third place against Sky View at the 4A state championship, Orem, Utah, Oct. 28, 2021 | Photo by Mark Musgrave

Snow Canyon finished sixth at state. After falling to Green Canyon 3-2 in a close match Thursday, the Warriors went through the consolation bracket Friday with a 3-0 sweep of Bear River and a 3-1 win over Hurricane.

Hurricane finished eighth in the tournament after that defeat. The Tigers opened Thursday with a 3-1 setback against Mountain Crest, then beat Dixie in consolation play 3-1.

Dixie fell to Cedar 3-0 Thursday, then picked up its first match win of the year in the play-in game of the consolation bracket, sweeping Logan 3-0.

Pine View entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and beat Bear River 3-2 Thursday in an opening round thriller.

The Panthers then fell to Crimson Cliffs 3-0 Thursday night in the quarterfinals, and Pine View’s season ended after a 3-2 loss to Green Canyon Friday.

Cedar entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed and opened with a win, sweeping Dixie 3-0. Then the Reds lost a heartbreaker 3-2 to Sky View Thursday night.

Cedar’s final match of the year was a 3-0 defeat against Mountain Crest.

Green Canyon placed fifth at state after beating Mountain Crest 3-2. 

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