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High Country advances to finals

Local team has chance to win volleyball title

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SANDY — Two local teams had the opportunity to advance to the Gold Bracket in the 18 Club Division at the Junior Olympic Volleyball Championships on Saturday.

High Country made it to today's single-elimination tournament, while Klub Boom did not.

High Country went 2-1 with two-game victories over the Orlando VB Academy and Texas Elite. Klub Boom, which went undefeated on Thursday and Friday, went 1-2 and will play for ninth place in the Silver Bracket today.

After breezing to a 25-23, 25-17 win over Orlando in its first match, High Country struggled in a 25-23, 25-18 loss to Rocky Mountain in its second match.

"We got a little flat in our second match, but we rallied for the next one," said High Country coach Kim Norman.

High Country may have had a little too much confidence after its win over Orlando. And Norman said you couldn't do that in this tournament.

"All 16 teams (remaining) are really good, and you have to respect every point," she said.

In the first game of its third match, High Country was in a tight battle with Texas Elite before receiving a spark off the bench from Via Filipe, who picked up three of her team's final four points. Her play boosted her team to a 25-23 win in the first game.

"She ignited us," Norman said. "She was incredible. She was the one who turned a close game in our favor."

High Country rode the momentum boost provided by Filipe to trounce Texas 25-15 in the second game.

Klub Boom started the day off well with a three-game victory over the Lincoln Juniors but then lost a three-game thriller to Nike Minnesota Elite. In the third game of the match, Klub Boom rallied from a 10-6 deficit behind the serving and clutch setting of Heather Watts to take a 11-10 lead. But the local team fell short and lost to 15-13.

Klub Boom lost in two games in its final match of the day to the Nebraska Juniors.

Klub Boom coach Jami Hutchins was disappointed that his team dropped into the Silver Bracket after going 6-0 on Thursday and Friday.

"We played hard but not as smart as we did the rest of the week," Hutchins said.

Hutchins said his team had grown accustomed to making comebacks during the week. But they couldn't pull off any more off on Saturday.

"We've been in tough situations and come back," Hutchins said. "But that can come back to bite you."

The strong performance in the tournament by High Country's Club 18 and 17 teams, as well as Klub Boom, has been a local highlight for what was an otherwise quiet showing by Utah teams.

"We've been putting on a nice show for the local fans," Norman said. "Hopefully, the fans will come out to see a local team playing for a championship."

The tournament wraps up today with the 17 Club championship at 1 p.m. and the 18 Club championship at 5:30 p.m. Today's single-elimination tournaments begin at 8 a.m.

E-MAIL: aaragon@desnews.com