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High school volleyball: North Summit knocks off Kanab to win fifth state championship in six years

North Summit celebrates its 2A state volleyball championship at the UCCU Center in Orem, Utah on Oct, 30, 2021.
Tom Ripplinger

No. 2 Kanab and No. 4 North Summit squared off late Saturday night on the campus of Utah Valley University with the 2A state volleyball title on the line.

The two teams met twice earlier this month, with the Braves winning both contests. Saturday was no different, as North Summit easily knocked off the Cowboys in three sets to win the 2021 state championship.

Senior Marci Richins led the way for the Braves, getting 25 kills on the night. The athletic middle hitter finished the tournament with a total of 101 kills.

“The team sets up a pass. My center gets a perfect set and I’m just able to put it away. The team just does it all for me,” Richins said.

“She’s our go-to girl,” North Summit head coach Samantha Stephens said of Richins. “She’s amazing. She can jump out of the gym and she is a team player, which is awesome, too.”

With the victory, North Summit repeated as state champions and won its fifth title in the last six years.

“(I’m) just so excited for these girls,” Stephens said. “They’ve worked so hard this season. A lot of people didn’t think we could do it, but we knew that we could, and we just battled.”

The win also marked the fourth straight season that Kanab has fallen to North Summit in the state tournament.

Stephens was complimentary of the Cowboys, saying, “(Kanab’s) a good team. It seems like we end up playing the same teams every year. They’re a young team and they’re coached well. It’s hard to beat a team three times. I feel like we were just calm and we knew what we needed to do and we did that.”

North Summit kept its composure and made it look easy Saturday night. The initial set quickly turned into a blowout for the Braves, as the No. 4 seed put on an offensive clinic. They were in no real danger of losing throughout the set as they cruised to a 25-14 win.

The second set saw Kanab challenge North Summit at the beginning, but much like the first set, the second got out of hand, turning into another easy victory for the Braves.

North Summit continued to look unstoppable, as it won 25-16.

Kanab put up a fight in the final set, giving everything it had to stick with the Braves. Still, it wasn’t enough as North Summit rolled, sweeping the Cowboys with a 25-19 victory.

“We knew (we could win state) right from the start,” Stephens said. “We had a tough preseason. We played a lot of 3A and 4A schools, so we got a lot of losses. We were doubted a little bit, but I’d rather play tough schools. It pays off in the end.”

After seeing its last title streak snapped in 2019, North Summit began a new run Saturday night. The Braves’ 2A domination has continued.