American Fork believes it can beat Orem. The problem for the Cavemen is they can't prove it.
In the preseason, Orem beat American Fork in three games and when region play started, the Cavemen hosted the Tigers again with the same result.Tuesday night American Fork had one last chance to beat Orem with the Region 4 title on the line, but for the third time this year Orem held on for a hard fought 15-7, 10-15, 15-11 win.
"You can't ask for a better game to go into the state tournament on. Both teams will benefit from this game," said American Fork coach Audrey Richards.
Orem took control of the match by building a 10-4 lead in game one.
Jena Van De Graaff had a pair of kills and a block. Missy Reidhead added a block and Melanie Holyoak served an ace to help the Tigers build their lead.
Orem looked like it would put away American Fork in two games. The Tigers led 3-1 and had American Fork frustrated. On one sequence, American Fork's Heather Black wound up and blasted a shot over the net, but Reidhead saved the point with a dig. So American Fork went back to Black but Reidhead again saved the point with a dig.
The Cavemen went back to Black for a third time but this time her shot went into the net.
The resilient Cavemen, however, bounced back. Trailing 8-6, American Fork evened the score on a kills from Shari Kelsch and Taryn Stringham.
With the game tied 9-9, American Fork pulled ahead as the Tigers unraveled. Orem was called for a pair of illegal hits. Black then connected on a pair of kills to help the Cavemen open a 14-10 lead. Orem's shot then went long giving the game to American Fork.
In the final game, Orem jumped out to a 4-0 lead as the Cavemen fired a string of shots that went long.
American Fork settled down and made a game of it tying the score at 7-7.
But Jenny Chalmers got in a serving groove that allowed Orem to open up what proved to be an insurmountable lead.
Chalmers served for five straight points as American Fork struggled to get the ball over the net.
When the Cavemen did get the ball over the net Laura Black sent it back for a point and Beth Jepsen added a pair of huge kills that put the game away for Orem.
The win gave Orem the Region 4 championship. Even though the Tigers have one region game left, the win secured the Region 4 title outright for Orem. The Tigers are 11-0. Second place American Fork finished up region play at 10-2.
It was an emotional win for Orem coach Stacy Salmans who worked up a sweat watching from the bench.
As congratulating hands kept him from finishing more than one sentence at a time he talked about the win. "Jenny (Chalmers) really picked her spots to serve. It feels awesome . . ."
When asked what the difference was between Orem and American Fork, Salmans held up his index finger and thumb and said, "This much. It's just this much more experience for us."
Van De Graaff led the Tigers with 11 kills. Reidhead added 7 and Jolene Shaw added 5.
For American Fork, Black had 11 kills. Brittany Risher had 8 and Stringham sparked the Cavemen off the bench with 7.
In other action around the state:
Layton def. Northridge 15-3, 15-5: The Lancers assured themselves of at least third place in the region with a home victory over the Knights. Layton is 8-4, while Northridge is 5-6.
Roy def. Clearfield 15-9, 6-15, 16-14: Katie Hotchkiss had six kills and three aces as the Royals prevented the Falcons from winning their first region match this season. Jamie Augustine added five kills for Roy (5-6).
Bonneville def. Fremont 15-8, 3-15, 15-6: Karla Koop's 27 assists and Renae Allgood's 10 kills and six digs moved the Lakers into a first place tie in the region with a win over the Silver Wolves. Both Bonneville and Fremont have 8-3 records with one match left to play.
Davis def. Bountiful 12-15, 15-7, 15-3: Lori Sargent pounded out eight kills to help the Darts bounce the Braves. Wendy Dale added 14 service points for Davis (7-2).
Viewmont def. Highland 12-15, 15-4, 15-11: The Vikings pulled off a surprise at home by shocking the Rams. Sarah Hoehne and Jacklyn Wintle each had four kills for Viewmont (2-7).
Skyline def. Cottonwood 15-1, 15-2: The top-ranked Eagles displayed their senior strength in a win over the Colts. Skyline (9-0) claimed the region title with the victory.
Taylorsville def. Granger 15-6, 15-5: Kim Nielson dished out 20 assists and Lisa Milne added some great overall play to give the Warriors a win over the Lancers. Andrea Davis added five kills for Taylorsville (11-0).
Bingham def. Kearns 15-6, 16-14: The Miners (9-3) secured a second place finish in region with a victory over the Cougars, thanks to 10 service points and 10 digs by Kristi Christiansen. Shanna Foulger had 14 digs and Rachel Simmons added 21 assists in the loss for Kearns (4-7).
Hunter def. West Jordan 15-7, 10-15, 15-12: The Wolverines surprised the Jaguars by knocking them off on their home court. Jeanette Graves posted 22 kills and three blocks in the loss for West Jordan (5-6).
Mountain View def. Hillcrest 15-2, 15-6: The Bruins used a strong team effort to propel them past the Huskies. Mountain View is now 7-4, while Hillcrest is 2-9.
Jordan def. Brighton 15-11, 15-7: Kirsten Powell tallied five kills and two aces as the Beetdiggers knocked off the Bengals. Layna Drake added 12 assists for Jordan (3-8).
Ogden def. Ben Lomond 15-8, 15-1: The Tigers kept their hopes for a third place finish in the region standings alive by dropping the Scots. Stephanie Bishop had 12 assists, four kills and three aces for Ogden (6-5), while Sarah Stoffer paced the hitting attack in the loss for Ben Lomond.
Mountain Crest def. Box Elder 16-14, 15-11: The third-ranked Mustangs clinched the region crown by stinging the Bees. Shannon Lyle and Sarah Clemensen led the offensive charge for Mountain Crest (10-1).
Sky View def. Logan 15-10, 16-14: Cami Mitchell served the first nine points of the game for the Bobcats in their win over the Grizzlies. Mitchell ended the night with 16 service points for Sky View (10-2).
Murray def. Olympus 10-15, 15-8, 15-13: The Spartans kept their tournament hopes alive with a home victory over the Titans. Nina Piukkonen, Carrie Cook and Heidi Baird combined for 17 kills and 10 blocks for Murray (5-10).
West def. Judge 15-9, 10-15, 19-17: The Panthers used the strong setting and defense of Kasey Tyrrell to help them squeak by the Bulldogs and clinch third place in the region. Pansey Brandon added 10 kills for West (9-7), while Natalie Janovak paced Judge (7-8) with 12 kills.
Woods Cross def. Cyprus 15-12, 10-15, 15-3: April Taylor slammed home 10 kills and added four blocks as the Wildcats sank the Pirates. Natalie Pay served up 17 points in the win for Woods Cross (13-2).
Tooele def. Granite 15-12, 15-10: The Buffaloes secured a spot in the state tournament with a win over the Farmers. Leah Dutson paced Tooele (7-8) with seven kills.
Timpview def. Pleasant Grove 15-12, 15-12: The Thunderbirds locked up a tournament berth with a road victory over the Vikings. Heidi Sorenson had 10 blocks for Timpview (4-5).
Spanish Fork def. Payson 15-4, 15-7: The top-ranked Dons received nine kills from Melissa Bingham and six kills from Jenni Olson to help them cage the Lions. Spanish Fork improved to 9-0 with the victory.
Provo def. Springville 15-6, 15-13: Charlotte Eaves had 41 sets and Lori Red added nine kills for the Bulldogs (8-1) as they burned the Red Devils. Sarah Harper played well in the loss for Springville (3-6).