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4A volleyball playoffs: Salem Hills relies on comeback mentality to earn spot in 4A semifinals

OREM — Hannah Lee served seven straight points as the Salem Hills mounted a comeback that even they couldn’t quite believe in their five-set, first-round victory over perennial power Timpview.

“I don’t remember one of them,” said Lee, putting her hands on the side of her face and shaking her head after the Skyhawks came back — twice — to beat the T-birds 19-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-20, 16-14. “That was just a rush. All I thought about was getting them in, and I knew I could count on my girls to get the job done.”

Timpview dominated the first two sets so completely, it looked like the third-seeded T-birds would sweep the second seed from Region 8. But the third set was much closer, and although the Skyhawks trailed most of the set, they never trailed by more than two points. The set ended with an ace from middle hitter Rachel Christensen, who finished with seven kills.

The Skyhawks came out in the fourth set and led the entire way, earning their easiest victory of the match. The fifth set, however, saw the T-birds jump out to a quick, dominant start again. At the lowest point, Salem Hills trailed 10-3. But strong net play from Megan Treanor, who finished with 25 kills and 18 assists, Christensen, Kalee Reid, who added eight kills, helped the team claw its way back into the match. Leading the charge, however, was libero Lee, who finished with 26 digs and 18 points.

“Obviously when we were down (it was scary),” said outside hitter Treanor. "But the main goal is to believe in your teammates. Our team is so good at that. We always have confidence in each other, and we are there mentally. We just click with each other so well.”

As the team fought for each point through some thrilling, impressive rallies, they never discussed the hole they were trying to climb out of with each point.

“We kept saying, ‘Every ball we fight’,” Megan Treanor said. “Don’t focus on ‘OK, in 10 points, we want to do this. Focus on the play we’re in — getting the ball up and putting the ball down.”

The next challenge for the Skyhawks was not feeling so good about the comeback that they dropped their quarterfinal match a couple of hours later against Woods Cross. The fourth-seeded Wildcats upset Region 6 champion Skyline in the first round of the tournament with a 15-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-17 victory.

“The state tournament always brings excitement, no matter what happens,” said head coach Kathy Treanor. “And anything can happen. You just never know, and that’s why we play.” She said the team would not overlook the Wildcats, and they didn’t as they earned a 25-21, 24-26, 25-16, 25-13 victory to advance to Saturday’s semifinal where they will face defending 4A state champion Bountiful.

The top-ranked Braves swept Judge 25-9, 25-8, 25-18 in the first round and then defeated third-ranked Skyridge 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 in the quarterfinals. Second-ranked Corner Canyon beat Springville and Bonneville for the opportunity to play fifth-ranked Mountain View, a fourth-seed from Region 7. The Bruins upset Region 8’s top seed Maple Mountain (25-15, 25-18, 25-21) in the first round and Box Elder (23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 23-25) in the quarterfinals.

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