RICHFIELD — It's hard to replicate the energy and chaos of the state volleyball tournaments. For 16 coaches, preparing for the upcoming state tournaments just got a lot easier.
"I love this tournament because it gives us that state feeling," said Rowland Hall-St. Mark's coach Kendra Tomsic. Her young squad traveled to the tournament co-sponsored by Snow College and Hales Sand and Gravel and organized by Richfield High coach Brett Beagley, and is playing its most consistent volleyball this season.
"When we're playing well, we're tough," she said after the Winged Lions defeated Enterprise 15-25, 26-24, 15-11 to finish third in pool play Friday night at the Sevier Valley Center. "It's been a lot of fun to watch them blossom ... We came down here just hoping to work on consistency and we're playing pretty consistently. I'm excited. This team doesn't give up."
All 16 teams will play another round of pool play Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m., with elimination play starting at 2:30 p.m. in four separate divisions. The championship matches are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center.
Beagley said Richfield High has always hosted a late-season tournament, but in the last few years it's evolved into a contest that features many of the state's top 1A, 2A and 3A programs.
"It's an especially good tournament for young kids," Beagley said. "With multiple courts, whistles going off and the crowd, it's a good environment to get a team ready for state."
Many coaches said the experience isn't just valuable for the players.
"It gives us a chance to see some of the teams from up north and down south before the tournament," Beagley said. "I hadn't seen Beaver or Enterprise before this tournament, and it's nice to see what the other regions have."
Richfield went undefeated in Friday's pool play with wins over Canyon View, Beaver and Kanab.
"I love this tournament," said South Sevier coach Lori King after her team defeated South Summit 25-19, 25-12. "I like the fact that it's the same court (surface) we play on at state. It's nice to get a view of other teams as well."
King is hoping to help the Rams work out any kinks as state approaches, after an inconsistent performance in region play.
"This group knows how to compete," she said. "They have the skill; they just need to get their mental game tougher ... Our region is tough. We need to learn how to finish. If we can finish, we'll be right there. We just need to play relaxed and confident."