WEST JORDAN — Not many teams had to deal with more adversity during the regular season than West Jordan’s volleyball team, which twice was shut down for 14 days because of COVID-19 quarantine.
It’s no cliché, No. 5 seed West Jordan is truly happy to simply be playing volleyball right now, and that free spirit was obvious in a fantastic 6A second round matchup with No. 12 Skyridge on Wednesday night.
There were some tense moments for the Jaguars, but they pulled out the win in five games (26-28, 25-15, 18-25, 25-16, 15-10) to advance to Thursday’s 6A quarterfinals at No. 4 seed Fremont.
“That was fun. That’s what the playoffs are all about, give the kids an opportunity, have a chance at winning state,” said West Jordan coach Paulasi Matavao.
Middle blocker Mailei Myers, outside hitter Mua Letoi and setter Lani Matavao were some of the players who stepped up big for West Jordan in the playoff win.
When the Jaguars weren’t quarantined this season they were very good, posting a 17-0 record with only one of those matches going five games.
“This team believes they can battle with anybody. Now, a team that’s better than us might beat us but we’re going to fight for that game. That’s what I’m proud of these kids,” said Matavao.
Realistically, Skyridge represented West Jordan’s first true test of the season.
West Jordan came out swinging in the first game building a cozy 17-8 lead, but Skyridge battled back to win the opener 28-26 by winning the final three points.
In the second game, West Jordan won 10 of the final 12 points to win comfortably 25-15.
The teams traded the next two games, with Skyridge winning 25-18 in the third and West Jordan 25-16 in the fourth to set up the tense fifth game.
The Jaguars jumped out to the early 5-1 lead in the fifth game and rode that momentum to the win.
“They didn’t want to lose, we didn’t want to lose. I think tonight it just came down to a couple mistakes here or there, we were able to get some good serves when we needed it and we got crucial kills at crucial times,” said coach Matavao.
West Jordan led big 14-6 in the fifth, but Skyridge won four straight to add to the tension of the playoff match. Lani Matavao sealed the match with a setter dump that caught Skyridge’s block by surprise.
“We’re just happy that our girls can compete with everything going on. We’ve been quarantined for four weeks. I’m so proud of these kids. We didn’t practice for four weeks and they still ended up going undefeated in the regular season,” said coach Matavao.
Here’s a rundown of the other 6A second round scores:
Lone Peak def. Herriman, 25-9, 25-23, 26-24
Corner Canyon def. Hunter, 25-10, 25-14, 25-11
Fremont def. Bingham, 25-15, 25-21, 24-26, 25-23
Pleasant Grove def. West, 25-10, 25-11, 25-17
Syracuse def. Davis, 28-15, 25-10, 21-25, 25-12
Copper Hills def. Westlake, 25-15, 25-15, 25-13
American Fork def. Northridge, 25-14, 23-25, 25-10, 14-25, 15-12