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High school volleyball: Valley holds off Rich to claim first state title in 35 years

Valley celebrates winning the 1A state title at Union High School on Saturday, its first state title in 35 years.
Provided by Valley High School

Valley’s volleyball team experienced euphoria on Saturday that the program hasn’t felt since the Reagan administration in the mid-1980s.

The No. 3 seed Buffaloes edged No. 1 seed Rich 25-19, 26-24, 21-25, 27-25 to capture its first 1A volleyball state championship since it won back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985.

Rich fought off match points at 24-23 and 25-24 in the fourth game, but senior Paige Harris finally secured the winning point for Valley on a kill.

“Our last practice, we made two columns on a paper. In one, we wrote down all the things within our control (effort, attitude, behavior). In the other, we wrote down all the things that were standing in our way, keeping us from making it to this point. Then we tore the list in half. We kept the side with the things we could control. We burned the other. Today at noon, we left it all on the court,” said Valley coach Harmony Cox.

Valley beat Pinnacle, Escalante and Panguitch en route to the final. The 25-18, 25-16, 14-25, 25-8 semifinal win over Panguitch on Friday night avenged a 3-2 loss to Panguitch in region play.

“Us coaches absolutely love these girls. Spending time with these ladies has been an amazing gift. We can’t describe the incredible humans they are now, and continue to become,” said Cox.

Cox said her players hit with a very high standard in the championship game, with the team focusing on speed and power throughout the day.

Valley came out strong, winning the first two games, and Rich won the third. The fourth game was extremely tight with Valley pulling out a couple key points to clinch the title.