Region 9 volleyball: Desert Hills, Cedar move to the top of the standings, Mustangs also win

ST. GEORGE — Intensity in Region 9 girls volleyball ratcheted up a notch Tuesday night as teams charged into the second half of the season.

Desert Hills survived its toughest test so far on the road while Crimson Cliffs also picked up a road win and Cedar stayed strong and defended its home court.

Desert Hills 3, Snow Canyon 0

While the score shows a sweep, the match was sharply contested throughout the night as Snow Canyon battled the Thunder every step of the way.

“They serve very, very tough and they were super competitive,” Desert Hills coach Craig Allred told St. George News. “A lot of times they just outplayed us, and we did a good job of hanging tough and trying to make a break.”

Snow Canyon’s Fetuao Tapasa (9) blocks against Desert Hills’ Hannah Heaton in a Region 9 girls volleyball match, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2023 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

The first set was tied several times as the Warriors started strong, hitting and serving well to open the match.

The score was tied 18-18 when Lauren Larkin smashed home an emphatic kill and the Thunder went on a run behind consistent serving by Tatum Gardner.

Taylor Graff tipped home a Thunder winner and Larkin’s big block sealed the set win, 25-18.

“Snow Canyon is a great environment. They bring a lot of kids and it’s loud,” Allred said, adding that Desert Hills has had tough competition this year but not yet on the road.

“It’s been fun to venture out from our home floor. I think we saw that a little bit as we missed so many serves in that first set,” Allred said. “To be able to battle through and win tonight was just a good testament of playing hard. Small steps made it through the night for us.”

Snow Canyon did not go away and battled the Thunder in a thrilling second set.

The score was tied at 4, 5 and 6 before Snow Canyon’s Alyssa Staheli went up for a block that put the Warriors ahead 7-6.

Aubrey Olson served a mini-run and Fetuao Tapasa’s block put the Warriors ahead 9-6. Then Snow Canyon went ahead 12-8 and forced Allred to take a Desert Hills timeout.

Tapasa hit a pair of kills and freshman Pa’alo Tupe hit a kill that put the Warriors up 18-15, then a long rally ended with another Tapasa kill that put Snow Canyon ahead 19-15.

Later Olson served an ace to make it 22-18 and the Warriors were on the brink of victory at 23-20.

Desert Hills’ Brooklyn Robinson digs a ball while teammates Kara Richins (3) and Brooklyn Wilson (5) look on in a Region 9 girls volleyball match against Snow Canyon, St. George, Utah, Sept. 13, 2023 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

But Desert Hills rallied with a kill from Hannah Heaton and a tip-over by Larkin and the Thunder tied the set 23-23.

The teams battled to ties at 24, 25, 26 and 27 while the gym erupted with noise in the back-and-forth contest.

Unfortunately for Snow Canyon, a rotation error sent the wrong player to the service line, and in their scramble to get the correct server up, the Warriors violated the 5-second rule (a team has 5 seconds to get the serve off).

That mistake led to a sideout for Desert Hills and then the Thunder won the set after a big block, 29-27.

The gym deflated a little bit after the set and Desert Hills continued to put the pressure on, taking an early 6-3 lead.

Heaton’s block gave the Thunder a 9-5 advantage and then she served an ace that later put the visitors ahead 13-6. 

Larkin’s strong presence at the net produced another block and a 16-7 lead, then the Thunder rolled to complete the sweep, 25-17.

Desert Hills remained unbeaten in Region 9 play at 4-0 and is 12-4 overall.

Snow Canyon slipped to 3-1, 8-4 after the setback.

Crimson Cliffs 3, Pine View 0

Crimson Cliffs sweeps Pine View in a Region 9 girls volleyball match, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2023 | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News

The Mustangs put together a consistent victory on the road, beating the Panthers 25-19, 25-15, 25-17 to earn Crimson’s first Region 9 win.

Tehanie Waters led the way for the Mustangs with 12 kills. Maia Evans and McKenzie Jepson each hit six kills for the winners.

Peyton Palmer paced the Mustangs with 16 set assists while Ilikea Garcia-Casey contributed 8 set assists in the victory. 

Garcia-Casey also led Crimson with five service aces. Palmer and Waters each knocked home two aces.

Jepson led the defensive effort for Crimson with 15 digs while Garcia-Casey rounded out her all-around solid performance with eight digs.

Crimson Cliffs improved to 1-4 in Region 9 and 4-14 overall while Pine View is still seeking its first win at 0-5, 0-12.

Cedar 3, Hurricane 1

At Cedar, the Reds defeated the Tigers in four sets 25-21, 25-16, 21-25, 25-22.

In the fourth and deciding set, the Reds jumped out to early leads of 7-0 and 10-1 behind multiple kills by Emery Harrison.

Cedar stayed ahead the rest of the way, but a Hurricane rally pulled the Tigers within two at 22-24.

After a long rally, Cedar won match point and improved to 4-0 in Region 9, tied for the lead with Desert Hills. The Reds are 11-2 overall.

Meanwhile, Hurricane fell to 3-1, 11-4 after the setback.

Region 9 girls volleyball matches Thursday, Sept. 14:

  • Hurricane at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.
  • Cedar at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
  • Dixie at Crimson Cliffs, 7 p.m.

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