The Highland Rams emerged as the lone unbeaten team after Friday's action in the 5A state volleyball tournament at Jordan High.
Rallying from a game down in each of its matches, second-ranked Highland knocked off top-ranked American Fork 10-15, 15-2, 15-9, and then upended third-ranked Skyline 14-16, 15-3, 15-7 to remain the only undefeated team in the double-elimination tournament.The two wins advanced the Rams into today's championship match to face the winner of the American Fork vs. Skyline match. Those two teams will play at 3:30 p.m. with the championship match slated for 5:30 p.m. Should Highland lose that match, a second will be played at 7:30 p.m. to determine the state champion.
"I dyed my hair today and I swear . . . they just want me to have to buy another bottle for tomorrow," Highland head coach Kim Norman said of her team's dramatic wins. "This group has played real well with a gun against its head all year long."
The 1 vs. 2 meeting of the Cavemen and Rams turned out the same as Friday's football game between the two schools - a Ram victory. American Fork looked sharp in winning the first game before the Rams got into gear to easily win the second and tie things up.
The Cavemen then appeared well on their way to winning the match by taking an 8-2 lead in the third game. Highland then did its rally thing by scoring 13 of the next 14 points to take the match and stun the defending state champions. Senior Jenny Snow tallied 11 kills and sophomore Logan Tom added nine more to lead the hitting barrage for the Rams.
Next came the Region 2-rival Eagles with whom Highland had tied for the region title. The Rams raced out to a 10-5 lead in the first game, only to watch the hitting of Tia Vanich and blocking of Holly Harris lead Skyline back for the close win.
Much like they did against American Fork, the Rams bounced back and cruised to a quick second game victory on the strong serving of Tom and Snow.
Highland then put away its rally cap in the third game after scoring the first point and never relinquished the lead in securing the game and match.
"They just have too many horses," Skyline head coach Joan Burdett said. "Nobody can stop Logan (Tom) . . . and Jenny Snow's serving hurt us too. They are just very, very good."
Even though her team had just beaten two of the other top teams in the state, Norman wasn't about to claim the championship as Highland's just yet.
"Until we are holding the trophy I don't think it's over," Norman said. "I never believe it's over until the final whistle blows and the referee signals it's finished . . . and when they announce whoever's name it is, I hope it is us."
In Friday's other tournament action:
American Fork def. Weber 15-6, 15-1: The Cavemen bounced back from their loss to Highland by cruising past the Warriors. Natalie Whittaker recorded 13 kills and four blocks, while Melissa Risher had 22 assists.
Mountain View def. Fremont 15-1, 12-15, 15-10: Lisa Osguthorpe pounded out seven kills to lead the Bruins to victory and finish the Silver Wolves' tournament with a tie for fifth place with Weber.
American Fork def. Mountain View 15-7, 15-6: The Cavemen remained in the title hunt thanks to Natalie Whittaker's 12 kills and eight blocks and six digs by Jessica Wall. The loss gave the Bruins fourth place in the tournament.
Skyline def. Mountain View 15-12, 15-10: Tia Vanich and Shalane Peterson combined for 13 kills to lead the Eagles to victory and hand the Bruins their first loss of the tournament.
Fremont def. Bountiful 15-17, 15-11, 15-4: Mande Opheikens recorded 15 kills and 11 blocks, while Sutton Jenkins added 12 kills to lead the Silver Wolves past the Braves. Bountiful finished the tournament tied for seventh with Taylorsville.
Weber def. Taylorsville 15-9, 9-15, 15-10: Beth Virgin tallied 10 kills and 10 blocks to lead the northern Warriors past the southern Warriors.
5A volleyball state tournament
At Jordan High School
- American Fork vs. Skyline, 3:30 p.m.
- American Fork-Skyline winner vs. Highland, 5:30 p.m.
If Highland loses, the two teams will play again at 7:30 p.m.