PLAIN CITY — Strength up front is extremely critical to any volleyball team's success, and Bingham High has a hard-hitting trio that is gonna be mighty tough to stop this season.
The Miners' "Big Three" of seniors Seleisa Elisaia and Annissa Kehl and junior Journey Tupea joined forces on the front line to lead Bingham to a 25-23, 25-9, 25-22 sweep of Fremont in a preseason match Tuesday evening in the Wolf Den.
"They're playing good ball," Bingham coach Melissa Glasker said of her girls, who ran their record to 4-0. "To be honest, that second set is a little more indicative of what we've been doing so far this year.
"Seleisa was off a little off in the beginning and had several hitting errors early on, which is not her. She's our leader and once she settled in a little bit, we were fine and she played phenomenal after that.
"She's been our go-to, so, as a coach, you're really glad that you have a go-to," Glasker said. "But, if you're gonna win, you've gotta have multiple people be go-tos. In some ways, as a coach, it's kinda nice to see that your bread-and-butter wasn't working for a minute, so then some of the other kids had to step up. And it was great to see them do that."
In the first game, Elisaia had five kills and Tupea added three for Bingham, which led the entire way until Fremont made a late surge to forge in front 22-21. But the "Big Three" each came up with a kill and senior Olivia Boudreaux had a big block as the Miners scored four of the final five points for a tense 25-23 win.
In Game 2, Fremont trailed just 7-5 when Tupea and senior Gabriella Langi combined for five consecutive kills in a 10-0 run that gave the Miners a commanding 17-5 lead. Tupea added a couple more kills and a block, and Elisaia put it away with a southpaw seal-the-deal kill that finished it off at 25-9.
"We're definitely a slow-starting team, and that's what we're working on. We're working on how do you bring the energy from the very first play of the match," Glasker said of the decisive difference between Game 1 and Game 2.
"I think the second game, just coming out of the first set, we kind of were a little chaotic and really anxious to play, just not settled down," Tupea said. "But once we knew what we knew they were capable of, I think we kinda settled down and just played our game.
"Using all of us three hitters in the front and not being predictable for the other team, that's pretty much the focal point for our team."
Game 3 was much like the first game, as the two teams played a tight back-and-forth duel in which neither side ever led by more than three points until Bingham staged a 6-2 surge to open up a five-point margin at 21-16.
The Wolves valiantly tried to stay alive in the match, battling back within a point at 23-22, but a Kehl kill made it match point and a Fremont shot soon sailed out of bounds to close it out.
"The kill was much-needed and I think we came out strong and we showed Fremont what we're made of," Kehl said. "I think that we're a really good group this year and we have strong seniors, so we've been leading the group very nicely this year.
"They look up to us as seniors, and I think that we give a good memo throughout our system and we show the younger groups the expectations of how we're supposed to play.
"I think the first game we came out just kinda headstrong," she said. "I think we came out thinking that we were just gonna win, and then (Fremont) kinda gave us a show. So it just got in our heads and we starting making errors, but then we had a timeout and we just pulled through and made it to the end. We came out swinging strong in the second set."
Junior Brynlie Huntsman and sophomore Jada Suguturaga also came up with sold performances for Bingham, while senior Jantzen Smith, juniors Rylee Boyle, Mesia Child and Oaklee Lerohl, and sophomores Haylee Doxey and Brittyn Haney led the way for Fremont.