SPRINGVILLE — Region 6 volleyball consists of the undefeated Provo Bulldogs and the rest of the teams in the league, most of which are bunched together trying to hang on to or grab one of the three remaining playoff spots.
Two of those teams took the court Tuesday night in Springville and the Red Devils downed rival Spanish Fork 25-22, 25-19, 9-25, 25-19, for the inside track to a playoff spot. Springville is now comfortably resting at 5-3 in Region 6 with matches remaining against Timpview and Payson, while, with the loss, Spanish Fork finds itself at 3-5 with tough matches left against the top-seeded Bulldogs and American Fork.
"I think we've got a really tough region this year," said first-year Springville coach Lelia Roberts. "It's been fun this year because this region is just really not set at all as far as the playoffs go."
But Roberts insists if her team can hang on and reach the state tournament, it has a good shot at performing as well as it did last year. It rests many of its hopes on the strong shoulders of Nikki Sly, a senior who's loving her new role.
"Nikki's come a long way, not only from last year but from the beginning of this year too," Roberts said. "She's more aggressive at the net attacking and blocking, and she seems to be having a lot more fun, enjoying her leadership role."
Sly led the Red Devils with 12 kills in the match, including six in the all-important first game when Springville seemed to steal momentum away from the Dons from the opening serve. The Red Devils ran out to an 18-7 lead before Spanish Fork finally ran off eight straight to get back in the game. But then Springville came on strong again, mostly behind Sly's powerful arm and tough block, and took the closest game of the match 25-22.
In Game 2, Springville dashed out to the 15-9 lead, but the Dons toughed it out and tied it up at 15 only to see the Red Devils go on an 8-0 run. Springville then held off the Dons' charge to take the 2-0 lead.
But Game 3 saw the momentum shift. The Dons finally took their first lead of the night at 1-0 in that, and took down Springville with a 13-0 run.
But they didn't allow the Dons to maintain the momentum, and though Diane Stewart pounded down 11 kills for Spanish Fork in the match and Mele Vaitohi added eight, Springville once again dominated in Game 4, sweeping the season series against its region rivals.
Alexis Aegerter added seven kills for Springville, and Danielle Taylor added six.