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High school volleyball: Lehi cruises past Box Elder to advance to 5A quarterfinals

LEHI — Lehi had no trouble defeating Box Elder Wednesday evening three games to none in its second 5A playoff matchup in as many days. With the sweep, the Pioneers moved on to the state quarterfinals having yet to drop a set in postseason play.

Box Elder entered the matchup after completing a sweep of its own. The Bees easily advanced to the second-round road meeting with the Pioneers after handily beating Cottonwood Tuesday. Box Elder was unable to find any of its Tuesday magic against Lehi.

The Pioneers eliminated the Bees with set scores 25-19, 25-7 and 25-12.

The first set was competitive with six lead changes. It was a back-and-forth battle until Lehi notched it up at 19 apiece. Following a service ace from junior libero Bailee Holland the Pioneers took control, scoring the final six points to secure the lead.

Lehi’s momentum from the first set carried over into the second, with the Pioneers jumping out to an early 4-0 lead. Junior outside hitter Avery Shewell took control of the match as she outscored the Bees in the set with eight kills to go along with three aces.

The Pioneer kill leader felt mentally prepared for her team’s bout with the Bees. “We do a mental warmup before every practice,” she said. “It’s just this moment where we ground ourselves and we take deep breaths and then we visualize for a little bit. I really feel like it helps us come closer together as a team.”

Lehi looked unified, thrashing Box Elder en route to an 18-point second set victory. When asked about what changed from the first set to the second, Pioneer head coach Kolton Rader said, “A little bit of discipline on our part. We had a few hitting errors in that first one, we weren’t playing very clean, we weren’t very disciplined. I kind of reminded them of that. That’s our style of volleyball and they did a good job coming out and making that change.”

Lehi continued its dominance in the final set, outscoring Box Elder 9-1 to end the match, as well as the Bees’ season. With the loss, Box Elder dropped to 21-8 on the season.

The Pioneers look to continue their hot playoff streak when they face off against Bountiful, the No. 1 seed in the 5A tournament. Rader is confident his team will be ready for its battle with the Braves tomorrow. “I think we can contend with anybody if we’re playing our style of volleyball,” the first-year head coach said.

Rader’s team will get its opportunity to prove its coach’s statement true on the road against the Braves Thursday at 6 pm.

Here’s a rundown of the other 5A second round scores:

Bountiful def. Viewmont, 25-17, 27-25, 25-15

Timpview def. Brighton, 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-13

Spanish Fork def. Woods Cross, 25-21, 25-17, 25-14

Mountain View def. Timpanogos, 25-13, 25-14, 25-19

Skyline def. Maple Mountain, 25-18, 25-15, 21-25, 20-25, 15-11

Salem Hills def. Orem, 25-12, 25-12, 25-22

Park City def. Mountain Ridge, 25-23, 25-11, 25-19