PCHS finishes sixth in state | ParkRecord.com

PCHS finishes sixth in state

Hailey Whipple prepares to spike the ball during a non-region game against Ben Lomond earlier this season. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record

The Park City High School volleyball team didn’t get any favors from the 3A state tournament pairings last weekend at Utah Valley University.

The Miners entered the tournament as the fourth-seeded Region 10 team after a tough slate of games that saw them defeat Juan Diego twice en route to a 2-6 region mark (11-11 overall). They were rewarded with a match against Desert Hills, the Region 9 champion and eventual state runner-up.

After a straight-set loss (25-12, 25-16, 25-18), things looked bleak for Park City.

"We had a really slow start in that match," PCHS coach Ashley Driscoll said. "I think we came out more alive in the second and third games of that match."

That momentum would ultimately carry over, as the Miners decided they weren’t about to have their season end on the first day of the state tournament.

"Everybody stepped it up," Driscoll said. "We played like a team and went after it. The girls said ‘Let’s bring it up one more notch.’"

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And that’s exactly what they did, rattling off three straight wins to end the season and earning sixth place in the state. After battling Bear River to a hard-fought 25-16, 25-17, 25-21 victory, the Miners then took down Dixie in straight-sets (27-25, 25-22, 25-15) to earn a spot in the sixth-place match against Region 10 rival Uintah.

Uintah entered the tournament as the second-seeded team from Region 10 and had beaten Park City twice during the regular season. That didn’t bother the Miners though, as they knocked off the Utes in four sets 25-12, 18-25, 25-16, 25-21.

Driscoll said she thinks the tough losses during the regular season helped her team grow in time for the state tournament.

"It was a wonderful way to end the season," she said. "We had a great preseason and then really tough region play. I think it prepared us mentally to go in fighting for a place in state. We didn’t expect anything we fought for every point."

Though the Miners will be losing a key senior in Hailey Whipple, Driscoll thinks next year’s squad will have a lot of potential with the upcoming senior class consisting of Sammee Thomas, Tressa Buckland, Chrissy Glasmann, Jo Henry, Katie Kelley, Candace Schettler, Whitney Wakefield, Kambridge VanderVeur and Forster Matherly.

"I think we all saw the potential of this team," she said. "Our hopes were they’d recognize it and step up at state. I’m very pleased with the results. This is the second year we’ve made it to state with this group. That plays well for us next year."

But, she added, Whipple will certainly be missed.

"She’s such a positive person," Driscoll said. "She brings a positive energy and is always smiling. She really stepped it up and was one of our captains this year."

The upcoming off-season will make or break the Miners’ chances next year, Driscoll said.

"A really strong off-season is going to be key to next season’s success," she said. "We’ll definitely practice in the spring and do clinics in the summer. Most of our girls are also playing club teams during those seasons."

If everything goes according to plan, Driscoll and her squad hope to get back to the state tourney next year and win four games in a row instead of three.

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