PROVO — American Fork picked a tough opponent to meet for its first official match of the year.
And sure enough, Provo showed it's still one of the valley's top teams on the volleyball court with the 25-13, 25-21, 25-23 victory.
"I know the best way to improve is to play," said American Fork coach Chad Murray. "We got better as the day went on. That's a positive direction at least."
After losing the first game, American Fork put up more of a battle in the second and third games and even held an early 8-1 lead in Game 3 before Provo, behind some tough passing and serving and the hitting abilities of its top-two hitters, came back to finish American Fork off in three.
"We obviously need to work on defense," Murray said. "We have to work on our blocks, and if we can pass, we're unstoppable."
It is true that the Cavemen have quite an offensive force if the team can get its defense and passing on the same page.
Alisha King pounded out 11 kills on the night, followed by Shantell Durrant's 10 kills. Those two and tough Jenna Toone are the power behind A.F.
"Jenna's always been a strong server. Her float serves are just phenomenal," Murray said.
Murray was also extremely complimentary of his opponents, especially the top-two Bulldog players, Lori Wilson and Nalani Lobendahn.
"Lori and Nalani are great players who know where to hit the ball and how to hit the ball," Murray said.
And both of those players proved exactly that against American Fork.
Wilson dropped 13 kills on her opponents along with seven digs and three solo blocks for points. Lobendahn added 12 kills of her own.
"We still need to improve everything," said coach Wendy Bills. "We're still not where we need to be, but I liked the way we served. I think we served better than we have been."
One of their most consistent servers is Gretchen Belnap, who also put down six digs for points in another solid effort.
In other prep volleyball games Tuesday:
MORGAN DEF. WASATCH 25-8, 25-16, 25-19:Jocelyn Randall had 12 service points and 23 assists and Bobby Brown had 11 service points and three aces to lead the Trojans to the win.
LONE PEAK DEF. TAYLORSVILLE 25-22, 25-21, 16-25, 18-25, 15-12: The Knights took the first two games and rallied to take the fifth game in a close contest against the Warriors. Britta Noble led Taylorsville with 13 kills.
MOUNTAIN VIEW DEF. PAYSON 25-13, 25-10, 25-23: The Bruins' offense was led by Alyssa Merrell with 16 kills in a victory over the Lions. Angie Glassford pitched in eight kills and two aces for Mountain View.