OREM — With just two returning starters, it took a while before the South Summit volleyball team could really play well together.
"We had a little bit of a slow start," said head coach Kristin Estes after the Wildcats defeated the Eagles 25-12, 25-14, 25-18 to earn a fifth place finish in the 2A State Tournament at UVU Saturday. "We went to a couple of tournaments and we just gelled. The tournaments helped because we needed more playing time. Now they're playing good volleyball."
One of the bright spots this season for the Wildcats has been sophomore setter Paige Peterson.
"She's just stepped up for us," Estes said. "She's improved 200 percent. I'm really proud of what she's done."
The coach was also proud that her team was able to rebound after losing in Thursday's quarterfinal to South Sevier. Not only that, but they didn't get complacent against a team they've already defeated twice in region play in Layton Christian.
"We won both (region) games, and statistically, that makes it scary coming into this," she said. "But they played well ... It was a good tournament for us."
Senior Amberlee Page led the Wildcats to a fifth-place finish in the 2A state tournament. Sophomore Emily Kueser added eight kills in the win.
"It was unfortunate we had to take (the Eagles) out," said Estes. "But it was nice that we both won our last games."
With just two seniors, and the only two players with varsity experience, the Wildcats spent most of the season getting used to playing together.
The Eagles were led by sophomore setter Taelor Scroggins, junior middle hitter Jasmine Porter, and junior outside Kristine Reddington.
The loss means Layton Christian finishes seventh in the tournament.