HIGHLAND — Taking on a perennial 5A powerhouse wasn’t the least bit intimidating to the volleyball team of one of the smallest 3A schools.
Maybe that’s because top-ranked Morgan is a bit of a perennial success, as well. It could also be because this year’s team is loaded with talent. Then again, maybe this is just a squad that likes a good fight.
“I knew we could do it,” said junior middle hitter Aubrey Saunders after Morgan defeated 5A’s third-ranked team, Lone Peak, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-9. “It was fun.”
Morgan head coach Liz Wiscombe said her team has only played three other matches this season, but the Trojans are proving their mettle when facing tough situations.
“These kids don’t know quit,” she said smiling. “They just battle all the time. Sometimes it takes them getting down to really wake up and get going. But they always battle.”
Tueday’s victory was a far cry from two years ago when the Knights swept the Trojans.
“They’re tough on their home court,” Wiscombe said. “Last time we came down here, we got our butts kicked. We just wanted to get on a bus and get out of town fast.”
Tuesday was a much more competitive match.
Morgan won the first game by withstanding a Lone Peak run that was led by Knight senior outside Emily Lewis and senior middle Makaila Jarema. But the Knights grabbed control of the match in the next set.
Rather than being discouraged after the Knights easily won that second set, the Trojans said they felt more determined than ever to fight for the win.
“We knew they had momentum, so we just fought back,” said senior outside Jaiden Farr.
Both teams showed grit in the third set, which was the most competitive of the five sets. The Knights edged the Trojans on a Jaysa Funk block to end it.
The Knights were led by Lewis, who finished with 20 kills, while Funk and Josie Bursell added eight kills each and Jarema had seven kills. Funk also had 20 digs, while Rylee Rogers added nine digs.
The fourth set, however, belonged almost completely to the Trojans. Morgan outplayed the Knights in almost every aspect of that frame, but especially at the net. Nearly every player had a standout kill, block or save.
That depth is the Trojans’ strength.
It’s also the reason Wiscombe said she expects leadership from every player on the roster, not just her two seniors.
“They’re all good leaders,” she said. “The cool thing about this team is that somebody will always pick up the slack. We have a lot of strength on our team.”
The Trojans were led by Farr, who finished with 24 kills and two block assists. Saunders added four blocks, two block assists and four kills. Anna Cox had six kills, while Jessica Carger had four kills and three blocks. Kennedy Wortman added 10 kills, six digs and her team’s most exciting block, which came in the fifth set against Lewis, who is one of the state’s best players.
Setter Jorry Randall was outstanding with 54 assists.
“We haven’t had a tournament yet or anything,” Wiscombe said. “But I’m excited about these kids.”
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