As the lowest seed (No. 16) to advance to the 3A Volleyball State Championships in Orem, Grantsville’s volleyball team had a tough road ahead of them beginning with an opening game against the No. 1 seeded Emery Spartans, who eventually won the state title.
The Cowboys didn’t dwell on the past, but set out to prove themselves at the tournament. Although they lost in their opening round, they won the next two games and battled to the end of a fifth set in their final match to finish in the top eight in the 3A classification. An 8th place finish for the 16th seed.
Head Coach Jenifer Nordgren was pleased with her team’s success and said the girls came together as a team and never stopped fighting.
“Because of some injuries, we had to make some lineup changes, but that didn’t stop them,” she said. “The girls played with incredible heart and grit.
“Coming into Wednesday’s game against the No. 1-seed Emery, I told them, ‘We have nothing to lose, let’s play some volleyball and have fun.’”
Wednesday morning in the first match of the day, Grantsville faced Emery, a team with a 25-4 record. The Cowboys came out and nearly took a set from the top-ranked team in the state. With a final score of 25-14, 25-15, 25-23, Grantsville showed they had come to fight and would not give up.
In the match junior Ranae Rounds led with nine kills, as Aliyah Fernandez and Hailey Broderick each added six.
Dropping to the consolation bracket, the Cowboys next opponent was No. 9 Summit Academy. The first two sets went to the Cowboys before Summit took the third set 25-23. In the fourth set, Grantsville rallied to win 26-24 and advance in the next round.
Rounds tallied 17 kills and Fernandez added 13. Junior setter Eliza Smith chalked up 24 assists while sophomore Olivia Richardson added 12. Junior Avery Allred topped the serves received at 20.
Next up for the Trojans was No. 13 South Summit, a team the Cowboys faced twice in Region 13 play and hadn’t beaten this season. Undeterred, Grantsville came out swinging and prevailed in the first game 29-27. They took Game 2 25-15 before finishing off the Wildcats with a 25-23 victory.
Rounds once again led in kills with 18. Senior Ava Kelly recorded four serving aces and 10 service points. Defensively, junior Brooklyn Berrett tallied 23 digs and 17 passes off serve receive.
In the 6th and 8th place finale, the Cowboys faced No. 11 seeded North Sanpete. The teams battled back and forth with the Hawks winning Game 1, 25-19, and the Cowboys claiming Game 2, 27-25. Grantsville won Game 3, 25-21, but North Sanpete took Game 4, 25-19, setting up the decisive fifth game. The Hawks took the fifth game, 15-12, and earned 6th place with the Cowboys finishing 8th.
In the North Sanpete game, Lexi Egbert and Brielle Hammond tallied 10 combined blocks, with Egbert recording seven and Hammond adding three.