<strong>It's motivating, but it's pretty imperative that you play good ball. That's what we've been focusing on — good ball first and then let the wins take care of themselves.</strong> – San Juan coach Cassy Moon
Enterprise coach Brian Phelps isn’t sure how his team will deal with the pressure of defending the 2A state volleyball title because he hasn’t really seen them at full strength yet.
Injuries and new personnel have led to a lot of shuffling and experimenting in the preseason, which may not necessarily be such a bad thing.
“We have a pretty good core back,” Phelps said. “But we’ve had injuries the first part of the season, haven’t been able to keep my middle blockers healthy. … Nothing serious, but we just haven’t been able to play at full speed yet.”
The defending champs lost two key passers and a hitter to graduation, but they return last year’s MVP, senior Riley Lyman, who is one of the best players in any classification.
Senior outside hitter Darbye Moyle also returns, as does junior middle/outside Jessica Farnsworth. Last year the team used three setters, and Phelps said they’ll most likely use that same system this season as Shelby Lyman, Kaylee Christensen and Tori Phelps all return.
Phelps said he’s happy with the effort his team is showing, and using a lot of players has given the Wolves more depth than they’ve had in years.
“Our practices are really good because we have a lot more depth this year,” he said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good bunch, but we’ve got a ways to go. And I need my full team back before I really know where we’re at.”
The team Enterprise beat in the 2A title match, San Juan, is currently ranked No. 1 and has been beating 4A and 5A schools in preseason tournaments.
“San Juan has been playing really well,” Phelps said.
The Broncos return some key contributors, beginning with senior outside hitter Tatiana Su’e Su’e. Senior libero Jade Palmer returns and the squad has beaten some impressive talent, including Skyline, Mountain Crest and South Summit in the Utah Tournament of Champions.
San Juan coach Cassy Moon said that while her players are motivated by last season's second-place finish, they are not dwelling on the season's final tournament.
"It's motivating, but it's pretty imperative that you play good ball," Moon said. "That's what we've been focusing on — good ball first and then let the wins take care of themselves."
In addition to Su'e Su'e and Palmer, senior setter Jessie Ivins returns to run the team's offense. Outside hitter Sarah Morely and junior middle Krista Grover give the team a versatile offense with veteran experience.
Both Moon and Phelps said second-ranked Delta also impressed in summer and preseason tournaments, and they also return most of last year's playoff team.
“Delta also looks really strong so far,” Phelps said.
The Rabbits, who beat South Summit to claim fourth place last season, have just two seniors on this year’s roster. They have a 4-5 record, but that’s because, like San Juan and Enterprise, they’ve played in tournaments that feature some of the state’s best 4A and 5A programs. Delta beat Northridge and Riverton, both 5A teams, while losing to Lehi and Hurricane, both ranked teams in 5A and 3A, respectively.
The Rabbits are led by Sidney Springer and Brooklyn Henrie, but are a well-balanced, athletic squad.
Kanab is ranked third and Millard is ranked fourth, which proves just how tough Region 13 is once again, as four of the top five schools come from that region.
Kanab swept Millard in their region opener and could be the surprise of the season. They’re led by Dakota Barnson, Katie Glover, Channing Jackson and setter KC Houston.
Deseret News Class 2A volleyball rankings
1. San Juan
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