RICHFIELD — After three years of being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the state volleyball tournament, the South Summit Wildcats made a statement Tuesday afternoon: no more.
South Summit eliminated Richfield 20-25, 25-14, 25-13, 25-15 to advance to the 3A semifinals.
“These girls refused to lose,” said coach Dallas Gines, now in her fifth year at the helm of the South Summit volleyball program. “We’ve been working hard all season and we’ve changed a few things in the last 10 days.”
Gines said the adjustments have had the goal of helping her team play a more intense type of game.
“They have a lot of heart,” Gines said. “I think they came into this with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders.”
The first game saw Richfield take an early lead, getting up 10-6. South Summit’s girls refused to roll over, closing the gap to a single point.
South Summit’s girls were able to tie the game at 20-all after going on a 3-0 run.
However, Richfield pounded down the next five points with key hits from Nicole Willardson to win the first game.
“It took a lot of heart, a lot of hustle and a lot of grit to come back,” Gines said.
Fueled in part by middle blocker Kinley Gines’ efforts at the net, the South Summit team was able to take establish a lead early leads in the next three games game.
“She’s been hitting an average of about 350 all season,” coach Gines said.
Midway through the second game, South Summit took off. A five-point run put South Summit up 21-12, leading to win.
South Summit’s girls wasted no time racing to a 9-3 lead in the subsequent game. They were able to prevent Richfield from getting a foothold, and led through the remainder of the game.
The finale of the match played out much the same as South Summit kept the momentum on its side.
“This is a game of momentum, and once we got it, we didn’t let go,” coach Gines said.
Next the Wildcats will face top-ranked Union in the semifinals Wednesday, Oct. 28, at noon as the 3A state tournament continues at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“We’re looking (forward) to just going out and playing our game,” Gines said. “We also need to make sure we’re enjoying it. If you’re enjoying it, the momentum is on your side and momentum can win ball games.”