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Miners fare well at Dixie tourney

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for new Park City High School volleyball coach Gray Davis at the Dixie Tournament in southern Utah.

The first was pure joy, as Davis watched his girls play well throughout the tournament, finishing third in the silver bracket.

"We have a phenomenal team," he gushed. "The best part was the teamwork. Not a single girl did all the work"

The other was disappointment as an error in qualifying marks kept the Miners out of the top-level gold bracket.

According to Davis, all of the teams played on Friday night to set seeding for the rest of the tournament. The Miners went 2-1 on Friday, tying them with Grantsville going into the second day. The tournament rules stated that the tiebreaker determining which of the two teams would advance would be broken based on points scored. Grantsville had played three games in its final match to win, whereas Park City only played two to win, so the Grantsville team was chosen for the gold bracket. Of course, winning in two games is more difficult than three, an error that Davis pointed out to the tournament director. But it was already too late and the girls had to settle for the silver bracket. The silver bracket meant the teams had to play all day on Saturday, rather than bypassing the morning session if they been placed in the gold.

"It’s really, really unfortunate," Davis said.

The girls won all of their Saturday matches until they narrowly lost to state powerhouse Waterford. Davis said that the girls were able to keep the score close even in that game, but a few errors kept them from the victory. It was also a chance for the girls to get a good taste of what Waterford will bring when the Region 10 regular season starts.

"It was definitely good practice," Davis said. "It’s stuff we can fix before the regular season."

Davis said he has been thoroughly impressed with the drive and determination of the Park City girls, even though they have been together for only two weeks. He said that the squad has a lot of potential and hopes to improve their skills to complement their talent.

"This should be a top-notch program in the state," Davis said. "I’ve never seen nine girls get along and play so well together."

He highlighted Lizzy Silverstein, a transfer student from Tampa, Fla., who he said should immediately make an impact. He also highlighted six-foot, five-inch Nicole Bishop. Davis hopes to further develop her swing and approach.

"No one will even be able to block her," he said.

He also is hoping for big things from Aundrea Hargroder, whom he plans to move from setter to outside hitter by the middle of the season. Praising her as one of the best athletes in the team, Davis said he hopes to help her get into a Division I college volleyball program. He also mentioned Katie Butters at outside hitter and libero Hallie Magee.

"Hallie has the best ball control of any player on the team," he said.

Davis comes to the Miners after playing semi-pro beach volleyball for two years in California. He splits time between his residences in Park City and Hermosa Beach, Calif., and decided to ground himself for a while so he could "give back" to his sport.

"I love working with kids and I love volleyball," he said. "I think I have a lot to offer as a coach and a player."

The Miners are scheduled to play Juan Diego on Tuesday and Grantville on Thursday at the Park City High School gym at 7 p.m.


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