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Hurricane blows into 3A semi by beating Cowgirls

Hurricane head coach Daniel McKeehan has high expectations for his team. Despite the Tigers winning their second-round winner's bracket match in the 3A state tournament, McKeehan thinks they didn't meet them.

"We're happy to win, but we played sloppy," McKeehan said after his squad swept Grantsville 25-17, 25-19, 26-24. "They (Grantsville) are a good team, so we're pretty fortunate that they weren't really on their game."

It was a quick start for Hurricane, as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead. After Grantsville fought back and took the lead at 7-6 and extended it to 12-8, the Tigers scored six straight points to take control of the game. From there, Grantsville scored just five points the rest of the game.

Despite being swept, Grantsville played well for the entire match, but continued to fall short, like in the second game. After battling back from an 8-2 deficit to close to two at 13-11, they allowed Hurricane to slowly pull away.

The third game was even more so indicative of Grantsville's never-say-die nature. They took a 12-8 lead. Although Hurricane kept hanging around, eventually tying the score at 18-18, Grantsville continued to turn away the Tigers.

Grantsville led late in the game at 23-21, but a service error allowed Hurricane back in it, and the Tigers knotted it at 24 apiece.

The Tigers finished things off by tallying five of the last six points.

"We didn't really want to play a fourth game," middle blocker Kalistina Takau said. "We hustled and picked up the intensity."

Takau finished the game with four kills and seven blocks.

Libero Jordan Ha said mounting a comeback in the third game was a lesson for the team.

"There was a bit of ups and downs," Ha said. "But that's how we learn and build and do great things in the future."

The future is definitely what a confident Kara Cotter is focusing on. The Hurricane outside hitter had a message for the Tigers' next opponent, Carbon, who defeated Uintah earlier in the day.

"We're ready," Cotter said. "Carbon better watch out."

McKeehan knows that the Tigers will have step their game up a notch to stay undefeated in the tournament.

"We never talk about winning," he said. "We just talk about execution, execution, execution. But we know that if we play like that, Carbon will bounce us."

Tia Beatty concurs with her coach's assessment that the team's play needs to improve.

"We enjoyed the win, and you always win when you have fun," she said. "But we need to improve on our blocking, our serves and our passing."

Sadi Hoyt had six kills and nine digs for the Tigers, while Keisha Jim finished with five kills and Megan Clyde contributed five assists.