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Volleyball Finishes in Top 12 in 2A

By Kendra Tomsic, Head Coach

Together was this year’s volleyball team mantra, and the 24 players who stepped onto the court each day in practice and at every match certainly kept that thought at the forefront of their play and interaction with each throughout the season.

Led by senior captains Lauren Bates, Regan Hodson, and Lilly Swindle, our fun-loving, talented team came to practice each day with a mindset to improve. They knew that they would sometimes fail, but had a determination and desire to learn and grow from mistakes and to get better as individuals so our TEAM would get stronger, while at the same time keeping an element of fun going all the time. That mentality paid big dividends! Thanks much to our captains and their teammates (the majority of them ninth graders!)—juniors Eva Aguilo, Gemma Ciriello, Bb Comeros, Emma Hare, Sophie Lieskovan, Anna Lui, Rebecca Miles, and Lulu Murphy; sophomores Greta Filippone and Hailee Pringle; and ninth graders Arianna Ali, Shaler Anderson, Lila Bates, Elayna Hoglund, Meg Hoglund, Meredith Maloy, Lowe Palmer, Emma Skinner, Hayden Thompson, Chloe Vezina, and Olivia Yang—for supporting each other, celebrating each other, and creating a culture of growth and togetherness all season long.

Following a preseason schedule that included varsity victories over 3A Providence Hall, West Valley APA, and former 1A state champion ICS, the team was prepared to start region play in mid-September.

League play in Region 17 brought with it much success for our teams at all levels of play, the junior varsity team posting a 10-5 record, the frosh team showing amazing improvement from start to finish, and our varsity ending the season at 5-7 (fourth in Region 17) and 12-8 overall for the regular season. Varsity highlights included dominating region wins over Maeser Prep, ALA, and American Heritage, exciting matches with Waterford and St. Joe that featured long rallies, undefeated pool play run in the Wendover Tournament, and a lone loss in a well-played match vs. 3A Summit Academy in the semifinal. Our Pink Night breast cancer fund-raising match in early October was a huge success, as our team and those who came out to support the game that night helped us raise over $2,000 for breast cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Our final overall record for the regular season earned for us an eighth-place seed in the 2A RPI standings of 29 total teams, an amazing feat! This seeding set us up to host the first round of the state 2A tournament, a match that pitted us against American Heritage, a match that we won handily in the Den in three straight sets—25-12, 25-9, 25-14—to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the state tournament, held at Utah Valley University in Orem on October 27 and 28.

The double elimination tournament at UVU saw us face a tough San Juan squad in our first match on Friday afternoon. Despite battling every point, we were unable to overcome the offensive firepower of the Broncos and lost in four exciting sets—25-18, 25-18, 25-23, 25-20—thus bumping us into the consolation bracket of the tournament. We next faced Wasatch Academy, a do or die contest. We were pleased to see our athletes buckle down and show the grit, teamwork, and excitement on the court that had become our trademark during the season as they defeated the Tigers in straight set 25-15, 25-17, 25-13, a victory that kept us playing on Saturday with an opportunity to place in the top eight in the tournament.

Our opponent for Saturday’s early morning match was a solid Beaver High team. Although all three sets were hotly contested and featured numerous exciting rallies, we could not seem to find our offensive rhythm and struggled to defend the tipping strategy of our opponent, so lost to the Beavers in straight sets 25-16, 25-20, 25-21 and were thus eliminated from further tournament play. We finished in the top 12 in 2A volleyball, an accomplishment that we are all very proud of!

Thanks to my coaching staff—Kathy Howa, Lauren Carpenter, and Wendy Hare—whose support of the team and me was invaluable. A special shout-out to our three senior players, Lauren Bates, Regan Hodson, and Lilly Swindle, who anchored the varsity team this year and whose talent on the court and leadership by example was a key to the success we had this season. Thanks to these three for all they’ve given to the volleyball program these past four years … they will be much missed!

End-of-season awards went to Lulu Murphy, MVP (side note: Lulu was #1 in the entire state, 1A–6A, in total digs for the season, with 685!); Lauren Bates and Lilly Swindle, Coaches’ Award; Regan Hodson, Offensive MVP; Shaler Anderson, Defensive MVP; and Greta Filippone, Most Improved.

Postseason recognition thus far has gone to All Region 17 players Lulu Murphy and Shaler Anderson (Deseret News All-State has not yet been selected). Senior varsity starters Regan Hodson and Lauren Bates earned Academic All-Region 17 honors and both were named as two of the ten 2A volleyball athletes to be recognized with the prestigious Utah High School Athletic Association Academic All-State award.

A huge congratulations to the team on a wonderful finish to an exciting laughter- and fun-filled, very successful 2023 season—this was a special group of athletes who were the highlight of my every day and who are champions in my book.