Long live the new double-elimination format. That's the basic sentiment of players and coaches from Weber, Taylorsville, Bountiful and Fremont after the second day of action at the 5A state volleyball tournament Thursday at Jordan High.
All four teams are the latest benefactors of this year's new format, which allows squads to play for a chance at the state title until they have two losses.Bountiful, which lost its opening match of the tournament Tuesday, won its only match to remain alive. The other three schools each rebounded from Thursday afternoon losses to stay in the hunt with wins in their evening matches.
"It relaxes the players a little bit more," Weber head coach Janett Whitton. "They know all is not lost with a loss."
After suffering a loss to Skyline, Whitton's Warriors used that relaxed attitude to knock the host Jordan Beetdiggers out of the tournament in a 15-7, 15-12 affair. That win set up a 5 p.m. match today against Taylorsville.
Having already played one match on the day appeared to help the Warriors against Jordan. Weber raced out to a 6-1 lead in the first game and increased it to 10-2 thanks to a kill and a pair of blocks by Beth Virgin. Jordan cut the gap to 14-7 before another kill by Virgin, who finished the match with seven kills and four blocks, sealed the game.
"It was really a team effort and that's how we've been all year," Whitton added. "When we played Skyline we weren't a team."
Meanwhile, the top four ranked teams in the state - American Fork, Highland, Skyline and Mountain View - haven't had to worry about a second chance yet. All four teams won their matches Thursday to set up a pair of stellar showdowns today. Skyline meets Mountain View at 3:30 p.m., while American Fork faces Highland at 5 p.m. The two winners square off at 8 p.m. for a slot in the state championship match.
In Thursday's other tournament action:
American Fork def. Copper Hills 15-3, 15-12: Lisa Terry and Natalie Whittaker combined for 21 kills and nine blocks for the Cavemen.
Highland def. Fremont 15-6, 15-5: Logan Tom led a strong hitting attack for the Rams.
Mountain View def. Taylorsville 10-15, 15-9, 15-6: The Bruins used their strong middle attack to rally from a first game loss.
Skyline def. Weber 15-7, 15-6: The Eagles were able to handle the Warrior challenge.
Bountiful def. Copper Hills 14-16, 15-6, 15-5: Rachel Ariotti recorded 16 kills and eight digs. Her sister Laura dished out 31 assists.
Fremont def. Orem 15-11, 12-15, 19-17: Mande Opheikens had 16 kills and teammate Alissa Williams added 10 kills and 10 blocks for Fremont.
Taylorsville def. Roy 15-4, 15-8: Mary Sorenson had a team-high 10 kills.