Bobcats cruise, Mustangs survive day one of state volleyball playoffs

<strong>OREM—</strong> Two Cache Valley teams in Sky View and Mountain Crest competed at the 4A state volleyball tournament Friday at the UCCU Center. In the double-elimination format, the Bobcats remained in the winners bracket as they swept both matches. The Mustangs have the opportunity at least place in the tournament with another win as they lost their first match and won the second. 

The Bobcats showed some jitters in their first set before dominating their opponents for the rest of the evening. Sky View defeated Springville 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 and cruised against Skyline 25-15, 25-9, 25-11.

The Red Devils jumped out to a 6-1 lead before the Bobcats slowly chipped away behind the leadership of senior outside hitter Maddie Day and eventually regained the lead as Springville began to make errors midway through the first set.

“I don’t think I’ve seen them start that quite out of sync before, but we’ve had times during other sets where we’ve kind of had our moment,” SV head coach Malayna Knowles said. “For the most part, they do a very good job of getting themselves back in. I was hoping for that and they did it. Maddie Day and Sammie Cox were both passing really well.”

After Sky View regained the lead against Springville, the Bobcats never trailed again en route to the three-set victory.

“In practice we’ve been passing and serving, passing and serving and I think that’s really helped a lot,” Day said. “We’ve done a lot of things to help us get mentally prepared and practice teamwork. Our offense has been solid the whole season.”

A solid serve game generally leads to a good chance of winning for the team serving well, and it proved to be true for Sky View in its second match. 

“When we serve well, it helps so much because other teams can’t run an offense,” Knowles said. “So, we get a lot more free balls, we get a lot more down ball and that makes it easy for us to run an offense out of that than if we’re getting hit at all the time. Serving made a big difference in the second match.”

Outside hitter Taylor Duryea finished the match with eight aces and the Bobcats notched 21 aces as a team against the Eagles.

“That was fun to be able to see Taylor be able to do that,” Knowles said. “One of her goals all season long is usually about her serve with something she wants to do better. That’s just sweet to be able to see her come in this venue and have success with her serve the way she did tonight.”

The Bobcats, who have aspirations of a state title, face the daunting task of matching up against the 2011 4A runner-up in Salem Hills for the semifinal match.

“We’ve tried to make all our goals about something we can control,” Knowles said. “We can’t control how another team hits. The girls did a great job of identifying things that we could control and take care of that they thought would help us to win sets, win matches, win region and we want to win state. That is something we’ve said from the start of the season.”

Mountain Crest suffered a hard-fought setback to reigning 4A state champion Timpview before fighting to see another day. The Mustangs battled close against the T-birds but ended up falling in four sets (25-13, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20) .

Outside hitter Katie Harvey had 16 kills in the match to lead the way, while Milanna Barnes added nine kills.

“I’m proud of my girls,” MC head coach Lori Karaghouli said. “I thought they fought really hard against Timpview. I thought we could have been more intense or done things to push a little bit harder and scoring more points, but I thought we played really awesome and really great against Timpview.”

Harvey led the Mustangs in kills with 12 as MC fended off elimination against Murray in four sets (25-15, 21-25, 25-20, 25-12).

“It was good to know that we had fight in us,” Harvey said. “After the game, none of us shed tears and none of us looked disappointed because we knew we had fought against Timpview. We knew playing Murray that we wanted to fight for it.”

After Murray took the second set, they were several moments where the Spartans regained momentum and almost took set three before Mountain Crest regrouped and held on. Mountain Crest had built a 16-10 lead before Murray trimmed it 19-18. The Mustangs finished the set on a 6-2 run.

“I’m proud of the way my girls pulled together and did things we asked them even if they were tired or it was out of their personality to do,” Karaghouli said. “They stayed up when they didn’t feel like staying up and I thought they did great.”

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