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4A high school volleyball championship: Snow Canyon secures fifth straight state championship

Dixie's Noelle Strehlow battles Snow Canyon's Leah Heger, left, and Mckenzie Willey.
Dixie's Noelle Strehlow battles Snow Canyon's Leah Heger, left, and Mckenzie Willey.
Mike Terry, Deseret News

OREM — How does the No. 5 feel? For Snow Canyon, it's simple: pretty sweet.

The Warriors wrapped up a half-decade of dominance Saturday night with their fifth consecutive state championship, sweeping Dixie in the 4A title match at Utah Valley University.

"Winning never gets old," said Snow Canyon's Ciara Parker, who has been a part of four state-championship teams. "It gets better every single time. The feeling is amazing. I can't even describe it."

Parker led Snow Canyon with 33 assists to go along with 13 digs, two blocks and three kills. Her kill on the final play of the match put the icing on the cake of a 25-5 third-set blowout.

The win, though, didn't come easy for the Warriors.

Snow Canyon went the entire tournament without losing a single set, yet Dixie came out with a vengeance, taking an early five-point lead. This was the first time Snow Canyon had been challenged, and the Warriors responded quickly, erasing the deficit within minutes, thanks in part to two straight aces by Taylor Murphey, and cruised to a 25-21 first-set win.

It was the first time all tournament a team had scored more than 20 points in a set on the Warriors.

"I think we responded positively," Parker said about falling behind early. "We focused on what we could control and didn't get frustrated. We just kept playing Warrior volleyball. Dixie is a really good team, and they challenged us tonight."

The closeness of the first game was a fleeting sensation, though, as Snow Canyon jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 2 and never looked back, taking the set 25-15.

Dixie's stout defense, which helped the Flyers get past a powerful Mountain View team in the first round, was no match against the top-ranked Warriors. Resilient at first, the defense wore down as the game went on and Snow Canyon's attack grew more intense.

"It's hard to maintain a high level of intensity, and Dixie came out on fire," Snow Canyon coach Alaina Parker said. "But then my kids relaxed, and by the end, we were clicking."

Clicking is putting it mildly.

Fueled by the serving of Stacey Benton, who led the team with three aces, Snow Canyon went on a 14-0 run in the third set that put the match away.

Mckenzie Willey led the Warriors with 10 kills, while Murphey added eight kills and a solid night from the service line.

Hannah Harrah, who played a solid tournament for Dixie, had a team-high five kills in the loss.

All-tournament team

MVP: Ciara Parker (Snow Canyon)

Chelsey Schofield (Mountain View)

Taylor Murphey (Snow Canyon)

Madi Memmott (Lehi)

Hannah Harrah (Dixie)

Hannah Robinson (Orem)

Alli Spurrier (Olympus)

e-mail: mpayne@desnews.com