GRANTSVILLE — Smiles, cheers and even a few dance steps are normal for a volleyball team that has its game on.

But a little too much fun can take a team from inspired to distracted in just a few plays.

"After the first two games, we relaxed a little and got behind," said Bear River volleyball coach Suzanne Merrell after the Bears outlasted a persistent Grantsville team to win their first region match 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 25-23. "This team is tough to come back against."

Key in that comeback was the net play of senior outside hitter Erica Park. Her demeanor changed significantly in the third game as she rallied her teammates to come back in the fourth game and win the match.

"We can have fun when we're winning, but we need to stay focused," said Park, a three-sport athlete. "Grantsville is always a good team. You never know what to expect."

Because Grantsville made the Bears earn every point, Merrell got to see her team tested.

"At the start of region play, I think everybody is a little nervous," she said. "We all want to come out and play our best. I thought both teams played well. I didn't see a lot of mistakes."

Both squads did play well, but Grantsville had to make some line-up changes in the second and third games to try and find a block that could shut down the Bears hitters.

"I was just trying to put up a bigger block," said Grantsville coach Heidi Jo Heath. "We have a couple of options; we can switch things around. "

Junior outside hitter Brooke Bakker led the Cowboys offensively with 14 kills, while middle hitter, Paige Allred added 10 kills. Rika Larsen, who moved from outside to middle and made a huge difference in the third game added eight kills. Setter Autumn Pitt earned 38 assists in the match.

Heath has helped turn the Cowboy volleyball program around since she took over three years ago. She said the key to the team's growing success is its effort and attitude.

"It's their dedication," she said. "Every player on the court played club, and we haven't had that before."

She said she knew right away the players had the athletic ability to win more matches.

"I knew they were better than what they were playing," she said. "Tonight, they played really well. They're a great group of girls."

In addition to Park's 16 kills, she earned five solo blocks. The Bears' other outside hitter, Nicole Norr, added 10 kills and three solo blocks, while Carlee Merrell played outstanding defense and earned four solo blocks. Setter Janie Jensen earned 31 assists and served 20 points in the win.

In other action Thursday:


NORTHRIDGE DEF. WEBER 26-24, 25-10, 25-17: The Knights were led by Amanda Goodrich with 27 assists, three digs and one kill. Erica Evans contributed 13 kills and four digs while Shannon Assmann had 15 digs and one kill.

DAVIS DEF. VIEWMONT 24-26, 17-25, 25-11, 25-21, 20-18: The Vikings led 11-6 and 13-9 in the fifth game but could not finish off the Darts in a match that lasted nearly two hours. Whitney Johnson led Viewmont with 37 assists while Fiona Jones had 13 digs and 12 kills, and Amanda Carter had 12 digs and 10 kills.


TAYLORSVILLE DEF. ALTA 25-13, 25-13, 18-25, 25-13:Brita Noble had 15 kills, and Robin Smith recorded 15 assists to lead the Warriors to the win.


HUNTER DEF. KEARNS 25-16, 25-21, 25-17:Coltie Harris had 11 kills, and Katrina Iosua added eight more in the Wolverines' sweep.

RIVERTON DEF. WEST JORDAN 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-12:Jenny Leavitt had 20 digs, and Nikki Nielson won 17 service points as the Silverwolves rebounded after dropping the first game.

BINGHAM DEF. COPPER HILLS 25-15, 25-16, 25-20:Camrie Copier had 14 kills and five aces for Brigham. Lexe Jacobs had 24 assists for the winners.


SKY VIEW DEF. BONNEVILLE 25-23, 25-10, 25-7:Kaylee Nieman had six aces while Ashley Williams recorded six kills and three blocks to lead Sky View. Rachel Weaver added 17 assists for the winners.

BOX ELDER DEF. MOUNTAIN CREST 23-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-16, 15-8: Box Elder setter Brooke Tolman had 35 assists and 19 digs.


COTTONWOOD DEF. OLYMPUS 25-8, 25-19, 26-24:Mellisa Fifta had nine kills and Kaili Aiona five solo blocks in leading the Colts to victory.

GRANGER DEF. HIGHLAND 27-29, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18:Casey Speredon led the Lancers with 18 kills, teammate Shayna Davidson had 12 kills and Tracy Leota added 30 assists.

MURRAY DEF. WEST 25-14, 25-6, 25-9:Prasella Matemate recorded 12 kills, Micah Nieman had eight, and Kirsten Lemert added 33 assists for the Spartans.


NORTH SANPETE DEF. DELTA 25-17, 25-4, 25-20:Janelle Kendall had 19 kills, and Amanda Poulson had 20 service points to lead North Sanpete.

CARBON DEF. JUAN DIEGO 25-20, 25-13, 25-12:Megan Garvin led Carbon with 13 kills.


DIXIE DEF. CEDAR 25-20, 25-18, 25-21:Kristen Loveland pounded 10 kills while Sam Misa added seven kills and seven aces to lead Dixie to the straight-games win over Cedar.

PINE VIEW DEF. HURRICANE 25-17, 25-10, 28-30, 19-25, 15-13:Kristine Sedgwick led the Panthers with 22 digs as Kylie Clayton had 14 blocks. Danielle Freeman also recorded 16 blocks and 11 kills in the Pine View win.

SNOW CANYON DEF. CANYON VIEW 25-19, 22-25, 25-12, 25-15:Liz McArthur had 11 kills, and Anna Nostrant recorded 10 to lead the Warriors over the Falcons.


PARK CITY DEF. JUDGE MEMORIAL 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9:Kelly Barber had 11 blocks, and Lauren Deane added nine kills to lead Park City. Julie Freed had 15 kills in a losing effort for Judge Memorial.

WASATCH DEF. UNION 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 29-31, 17-15:Amber Kohler had 17 kills and 35 digs, and Becca Poloncic added another 35 digs to lead the Wasps.


ROWLAND HALL DEF. SOUTH SUMMIT 25-21, 25-17, 25-18:Carly Joesten led the Winged Lion with 11 blocks and five kills while Ivy Bolstrom added eight kills. Moly Jones had seven kills and six aces, and Erin Lence had 17 assists with five aces. The Wildcats' middle hitter, Nina Wilmouth, had 10 kills.

NORTH SUMMIT DEF. WATERFORD 16-25, 25-12, 25-15, 25-20:Jenessa Williams led North Summit with 29 assists, teammate Kelli Stuart had 12 kills and Kateri Vernon added seven kills.


TABIONA DEF. ALTAMONT 22-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-21:Stacy Stringham had 14 kills and seven assists in a losing cause for Altamont. Skya Defa had 15 service points and 17 assists, and Savana Gines had three blocks for the Tigers.


LAYTON CHRISTIAN DEF. ST. JOSEPH 25-16, 25-22, 25-21:Tess Lawrence led the Eagles with 18 kills, nine digs and three solo blocks.

SALT LAKE LUTHERAN DEF. MOUNT VERNON 25-7, 25-5, 25-8: Salt Lake Lutheran improved its record to 4-1 as Shandy Burton had five kills and eight assists. Patti Hicks added four kills

INTERMOUNTAIN CHRISTIAN DEF. WEST RIDGE ACADEMY 25-4, 25-10, 25-11:Philicia Friedman led the Lions with 12 kills and nine digs.


DUGWAY DEF. TINTIC 26-24, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22: Dugway defeated Tintic in four close games.

WENDOVER DEF. WASATCH ACADEMY 25-23, 25-18, 25-13: The Wildcats swept the Tigers in a Region 18 match.


MONTICELLO DEF. GREEN RIVER 30-32, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12:Adrianna Cordova and Heidi Vetere each had 13 kills in a losing effort for Green River. Charle Vetere had 17 assists.


SPRINGVILLE DEF. MOUNTAIN VIEW 22-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-9:Macy Merrell had nine kills, Cortney Conrad had seven kills and Graceann Jacobsen added five blocks in a losing cause for Mountain View.

RICH DEF. BEAR LAKE 18-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-18:Amanda Peart led the Rebels with 22 kills as Brittani Groll served up 14 points in non-region action against the Idaho squad.

ENTERPRISE DEF. LINCOLN 21-25, 25-14, 25-18, 27-25: Jessica Robinson and Jessica Hunt combined for 30 kills and 24 digs to lead Enterprise.