OREM — The bus ride from Orem to Smithfield after last year’s 4A state volleyball championships was so painful, Sky View seniors Kristen Schumann and Keiko Schwartz vowed they’d never feel like that again.
“It was terrible, straight up,” said Schumann after Sky View avenged last year’s loss in dominating fashion, sweeping Park City, the same team that broke their hearts last year 25-23, 25-23, 25-15. “It was terrible. I just remember one of our coaches coming up to me and Keiko and saying, ‘You’re going to get this next year. You’re going to win state.’ We just kept that goal the whole season. We’ve just been so determined to win it. We know what it feels like to lose and that just makes us want to win it more.”
Sky View head coach Sheila Sorensen said the pain of last year’s second-place finish motivated them, but it was their affection for each other that made Thursday night’s victory possible.
“They just fought for this all year long,” Sorensen said. “We had a poster on our wall, this is what we want. We wanted gold this year, not silver. They’ve just played with heart and togetherness. They just love each other, and they love playing the game.”
Schumann said their friendship made them work even harder because they wanted success for each other even more than for themselves.
“We just worked so hard,” she said. “We really worked on playing as a team. We played super unselfishly. Every girl on this team is so important to the team. It’s not a one girl show. … We just share the ball. We have so much love for each other and I think that makes a difference in the end.”
From start to finish, Sky View dominated the 4A title match at UVU’s UCCU Center. In fact, the Bobcats didn’t even allow the Miners much of a run.
Outside hitter Mikellie Sorensen led the team with 13 kills, while Schumann added 12 kills and two blocks. Haley McUne added 13 kills and two blocks.
Setter Ashlee McUne finished with 41 assists, and the team earned 82 digs in the match.
The effort was something coach Sheila Sorensen has witnessed since this summer during team camps. Whatever the challenge, this team stepped up, improving whatever aspect of the game was required to achieve new heights.
“To make it here to play for the championships again, that wasn’t enough for them,” Sorensen said. “They didn’t want to go home crying tonight.”
Park City looked poised to rally, but they just couldn’t seem to sustain any momentum. Head coach Matt Carlson said the team was drained after playing a five-set thriller against Lehi in the semifinal just a few hours earlier.
“It’s tough to go out this way,” Carlson said. “But props to Sky View. They’re a fantastic team.
The Miners were led by Grace Stover, who finished with 17 kills, while Lauren Carr, led the defensive effort with 20 digs.
“It’s been a season where they’ve had to play with a lot of heart and a lot of grit,” he said. “I think the girls left it all out there. I think they just had nothing left.”
Schwartz said the team’s work came from a commitment to giving their best to each other. They played with a kind of courage they couldn’t muster last season.
“The bus ride home, everyone was just so down on themselves,” Schwartz said, as her fellow seniors posed for a picture with their new title trophy. “We thought we were going to take state. The difference between last year and this year, last year we came out and I felt like we were nervous the whole time. This year, we came out, and we just had that attack mindset. We knew we could win, and that’s all we wanted. We were so hungry for a win.”
Schwartz said this season’s finish exceeded her expectations.
“To play Park City in the championship again and getting revenge in three sets,” she said pausing, “I mean that’s a dream senior year.”