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Braves finish fifth in 2A volleyball

Though fifth place may not have been what the North Summit High School volleyball team was shooting for at the start of the 2A state tournament on Wednesday, the Braves were at least able to end their season with a win on Thursday.

Entering Wednesday’s action as the No. 1 seed from Region 16, the Braves faced off against Layton Christian, the No. 4 seed from Region 14, in the first round. North Summit cruised to an easy three-set victory, 25-12, 25-13, 25-11.

Wednesday’s second game, however, proved to be much more challenging for the Braves.

Playing against Enterprise, the team that eventually would be crowned 2A state champions, the Braves struggled mightily. Though they battled in all three sets against a tough foe, the young North Summit squad lost 25-21, 25-21, 25-22.

"We did some good things," North Summit coach Sam Stephens said of Wednesday’s effort. "I wish we would have played better against Enterprise, though. We didn’t hit very well and we were intimidated. We’re young, so we’re intimidated a little bit, I think."

The Braves are indeed a young team. There are no seniors on North Summit’s roster.

"We’re starting a freshman, two sophomores and three juniors," Stephens said. "Next year, I think this will be good experience for us."

On Thursday, though, the Braves rebounded quickly from Wednesday’s loss. Playing against Rowland Hall, North Summit easily dispatched the opponent in a three-set sweep, 25-14, 25-18, 25-23.

Then, in the fifth-place game, which was played immediately following the Braves’ win over Rowland Hall, North Summit got off to a slow start. In the first set, an extra volley was needed to secure the Braves’ 26-24 win. After that, it was all North Summit. The second set was won 25-8 and the third set, which clinched fifth place, was decided by a score of 25-17.

"I was glad we came back today ready to play," Stephens said. "Sometimes that’s hard after a loss."

One of the Braves’ youngest players on the Braves’ roster had a big day on Thursday, Stephens added.

"Hunter Vernon, our freshman, had a couple great games for us on the outside," she said. "She had something like 15 kills for us. We just hit great as a team today, though."

Overall, Stephens said she hopes this year’s state tournament experience leads to an even better performance in 2015.

"Hopefully they’ll remember how they felt after we lost that second match," she said. "Next year, hopefully, we can win that second match that would be a big deal for us. I think we can."

North Summit ended the season with a record of 16-2, including tournament play.

South Summit Wildcats

South Summit’s trip to UVU for the 2A state volleyball tournament got off to a good start on Wednesday morning against Maeser Prep.

Coming into the tourney as the No. 2 seed from Region 16, the Wildcats squared off against the Region 14 No. 3 seed, winning the match in four sets.

South Summit won the first set 25-20, then lost the second set 20-25. After battling back to win the third set 25-18, the Wildcats and Maeser Prep engaged in one of the longest games of the 2A tournament, with South Summit eventually snagging a hard-fought 30-28 victory to advance to the second round.

The second round was another long match for the Wildcats, who this time lost in four sets to Delta. After dropping the first two sets 25-11, 25-16, the Wildcats rebounded to claim a 25-17 win in the third set. But, it was too little, too late, as Delta bounced back in the fourth set, cruising to a 25-15 win.

After dropping to the one-loss bracket, the slide continued for South Summit. Squaring off against Waterford, the Wildcats won the first game 25-23 before dropping the last three 25-14, 25-22, 25-19 and getting eliminated from the tournament.

South Summit finished the season with a record of 12-16, including tournament play.


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