OREM — The Carbon Dinos decided it wasn't going to happen again. They were sick of being the bridesmaids. They wanted the brass ring all to themselves, and they finally got it.
After three years of disappointment, three years of second-place finishes, they took their undefeated season into the championship match against the top-ranked Morgan Trojans and won 18-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-21.
It isn't often you find an undefeated team that is a decided underdog, but the Dinos fit the bill. Morgan has been the perennial 3A favorite for years, and this year was no different. But Carbon's five senior starters were so sick of coming in second they decided they had to do something about it.
"It was awesome," said Morgan Warburton, Carbon's senior middle blocker and the 3A tournament MVP. "We've been waiting for four years. I knew we couldn't lose it. The five seniors told ourselves that we couldn't let that happen again. We knew we had to win it this year."
At first, things didn't look good for the Carbon seniors, who all have been playing on the team through four years of championship matches. The Trojans ran out to a huge lead in the first game, dispatching the Dinos with ease, making the crowd wonder if this year was just going to be the same as all the others.
"They worked hard, and it's the only time we played four games all year, so I was worried after losing the first one," Carbon principal Robert Cox said. "They deserve it, all these seniors have stayed with it, and they finally won."
After losing that first game, the Dinos seemed to lose heart and found themselves down 1-9 early in the second, but they found their way out of that hole with teamwork and some tough leadership from Warburton. A 17-6 run put Carbon back in the game, and the Dinos finally stole it 27-25. It was the first game Morgan had lost all tournament.
"Last year, they said the third time's the charm," Carbon coach Bruce Bean said, "but it wasn't our third time against Morgan. Maybe that was it."
He added that his team is a "bunch of blue-collar workers" who play hard and win with teamwork. "State championships are few and far between at Carbon, so this is really great."
He made a change in the lineup after losing the first game and moved Warburton from the back row to the front to take on Morgan's kill queen, Eli Rees, head to head. "I thought that helped shut her down a little bit," Bean said.
Nobody could shut down Warburton as she pounced on ball after ball, finishing with 18 kills, including a 360-degree maneuver that drew shocked praise from the crowd. She wasn't alone for the Dinos, as junior Jamie King hammered 13 kills and senior Courtney Young nine. Setter Monica Shorts had perfect timing and placement in helping Carbon pound it to the other side of the net for 47 total kills.
Game 3 was all Dinos but they had to work their magic on another comeback in Game 4, though this time it was only from 0-4 down.
"It's incredible," Young said. "We really wanted it, and we focused hard as a team, and we got the job done."
Eli Rees finished with 15 kills for Morgan, and Jami Rees and Leslie Haddock recorded nine each. Breanne Haslem pounded down seven in the losing effort.
Morgan isn't used to losing, but after four straight years of state crowns the Trojans haven't been able to finish it off the past two seasons.
Region 8 is proving it has some volleyball skills as North Sanpete finished off the state run last year and the Carbon Dinos finally found the yellow brick road to the title this season.
In other 3A matches Saturday:
FOR 3RD, 4TH PLACES
SNOW CANYON DEF. PINE VIEW 25-21, 25-21, 25-23
FOR 5TH, 7TH PLACES
BEAR RIVER DEF. WASATCH 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23
FOR 6TH, 8TH PLACES
NORTH SANPETE DEF. EMERY 19-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-17, 15-8
MORGAN DEF. SNOW CANYON 25-15, 25-19, 25-22
CARBON DEF. PINE VIEW 25-20, 25-18, 25-18
WASATCH DEF. DIXIE 16-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-19
BEAR RIVER DEF. OGDEN 25-15, 24-26, 25-20, 25-11
NORTH SANPETE DEF. DELTA 20-25, 25-23, 25-12, 25-18
EMERY DEF. HURRICANE 25-27, 25-20, 25-20, 25-1
All tournament team
MVP: Morgan Warburton, Carbon
Nikki Callahan, Pine View
Shannon Evans, Morgan
Jamie King, Carbon
Jocilyn Randall, Morgan
Eli Rees, Morgan
Monica Shorts, Carbon
Whitnee Webster, Snow Canyon