The 6A girls volleyball tournament continued to be whittled down Thursday, with the quarterfinals taking place at Utah Valley University. The first pair of quarterfinal games pitted region rivals against one another with No. 1 Copper Hills facing No. 9 Bingham and No. 4 Pleasant Grove facing No. 5 Skyridge. The evening was capped off with No. 2 Syracuse taking on No. 10 Riverton and No. 3 Lone Peak taking on No. 6 Fremont.
Syracuse won with ease, sweeping Riverton while Lone Peak fought past Fremont for a 3-1 win. Copper Hills and Pleasant Grove both came out on top, remaining unbeaten on the year against Bingham and Skyridge respectively. The Grizzlies battled the Miners to a 3-1 victory while the Vikings simultaneously took down the Falcons on an adjacent court 3-1.
Bingham gave top seed Copper Hills everything it could handle, playing the Grizzlies close for the first three sets and half of the fourth.
“We have the leadership and the experience to realize that it’s just another game,” Copper Hills head coach Silver Fonua said about beating Bingham for the third time this season. “Even every set, it’s a new set. I think just realizing that and not thinking about, ‘That’s Bingham,’ we’re just playing another set. We just rely on each other, and we don’t really focus on the other side.”
The most pivotal moment came with the match tied at one set apiece and the Grizzlies needing to focus as they trailed Bingham 24-22. Copper Hills scored two straight points, tying the game at 24 on a huge Lolo Fonua block at the net. The teams went back and forth with each getting set point opportunities. Copper Hills captured the moment when junior outside hitter Myali Laufiso drilled the ball past the Miners for the kill, giving the Grizzlies a 29-27 set victory and helping her team take control of the match.
When asked about his team’s dramatic third set triumph, Coach Fonua said experience was key. “We have four players that have been here before, in this very gym. But I think just staying in the moment and not thinking about the score (helped us win). We talk about it all the time: work on the next play and work on the next score.”
Second seeded Syracuse, potentially the Grizzlies greatest challenger, had no problem scoring, making it look easy in its win over Riverton. The Titans’ sweep of the Silverwolves progressively got easier as they won each set by a greater margin. The third set saw Syracuse jump out to a 7-0 lead and ultimately end the match with a dominant 25-13 victory.
Lone Peak on the other hand was tested by Fremont, following smooth sailing in an easy 25-16 first set victory. The Knights ultimately took care of business, defeating Fremont three sets to one. But Lone Peak had to eke out a two-point second set win and a hard-fought 25-19 fourth set victory to advance.
Pleasant Grove cruised past Skyridge into the semifinal round, controlling most of the match despite dropping set three to the Falcons. The Vikings were hardly challenged in their three victorious sets, taking each by eight or more points.
The top four seeds will resume tournament play Saturday at UVU when Copper Hills clashes with Pleasant Grove and Syracuse meets Lone Peak. The two winners will play for the 2021 state title that same day beginning at 6:30 p.m.