Park City takes second at state 4A volleyball finals after falling to Sky View
OREM – For the Park City High School volleyball team, the state finals – what felt like the state finals – came a match too soon. A grueling, five-set semifinal win over Lehi left the Miners drained heading into their Class 4A state championship match with Sky View, and they fell to the Smithfield team in three sets.
Fellow top seed Lehi’s resiliency was a surprise to the Miners, who went undefeated in regular season region play.
Senior setter Emily Smith said the level of play in this year’s tournament was higher than in previous years, and Lehi in particular had improved.
The first day of the tournament, hosted at Utah Valley University in Orem went smoothly for the Miners, though.
Park City cruised through their Wednesday opponents at the UCCU Center. A brief 24-26 stumble against Orem in the first round was proven a fluke in the following sets when the Miners dismantled the Tigers 25-17, 25-15, 25-11.
That afternoon, Dixie, the Region 9 No. 3 seed, kept the match closer, but lost to Park City in three sets 25-16, 25-22, 26-24.
Then there was Lehi, Region 10’s No. 1 team, on Thursday morning.
The Pioneers were 11-1 in region play, compared to Park City’s 12-0, but they gave the Miners more than they’d bargained for in the semifinal.
Lehi won the first set 25-19. Park City responded 28-26. Then Lehi came back 25-19 in the third. And Park City came back to take the fourth 25-22.
The fifth set, played to 15, tilted in Lehi’s favor early. The Pioneers went up 13-9 before the Miners started to close the gap. Lehi teetered on the edge of victory, with three match-point plays, but the Miners overtook the Pioneers at 18-17. A long Lehi spike secured the Miner win, 19-17.
It was a glorious, exhausting win for Park City.
“The fifth set really took it out of us,” Smith said.
The team then had two hours to grab a bite to eat and rest for Sky View, who Park City beat in the finals last year.
Though the Miners kept things close for most of the final, they couldn’t pull off the same marathon victory as they did in the semifinal. The opening set was a constant back-and-forth between the teams, with no long streaks from either side.
The Miners took early leads in the second and third sets, but couldn’t hold them for long. Tired and disorganized, the Miners lagged behind the Bobcats into the final points of the second set, then unraveled in the third.
Sky View won in straight sets – 25-23, 25-23, 25-15.
“We had that feeling of knowing again,” said Smith, referring to the team’s faith in their success. “It was the same feeling we had (in previous matches), but it was 50 percent effort most of the time – thinking we gave all of our effort to it, but we were just so drained.”
The team consoled each other after leaving the court.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but I don’t think that took away from all the great things we did this season,” senior outside hitter Grace Wiczek said. “I think everybody’s hearts were there and they wanted it but at the end of the day we were just tired. But Sky View played really well, and my hat goes off to them because they came out to win; but I’m super proud of everything we did this year and in this tournament.”
Coach Matt Carlson said the team played well and that, while many of its leaders are graduating, they won’t be forgotten.
“They had a great season,” he said. “Losing 10 seniors is going to be tough, but we have some great kids and we appreciate the legacy left behind for us.”
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Brace has been racing motocross for a year and a half