The Stansbury volleyball team has been dominant at times on its way to a likely second-place finish in Region 11, while the Stallions’ counterparts just down the road in Tooele have been inconsistent at times.
Thus, it looked on paper as though Stansbury should have an easy time against the Buffaloes. But, as is so often the case in rivalry games, Tooele had other ideas. In front of a raucous crowd Thursday night at Tooele High School, the Buffs pushed the Stallions to the brink of an upset before ultimately falling in five sets, 20-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-18, 16-14.
It was an encouraging effort for Tooele (6-10, 4-6 Region 11), which currently trails Bonneville by a game and a half for the fourth and final Region 11 playoff berth, and also served as a wake-up call for Stansbury (14-10, 7-2), which is a half-game ahead of Juan Diego for second place with three matches left in its regular season.
Stansbury racked up 49 kills as a team in the match, with its juniors leading the charge. Heilala Kaufusi led the Stallions with 14 kills, Annika Riggle had 10 and Kayla Alvey and Linzie Hoffmann each had eight. Riggle had three aces, and Alvey, Hoffmann and Marina Riddle each had two.
Hoffmann added five blocks and Jaydn Gagnier had three for the Stallions. Samantha Bryant had 21 digs and 42 assists and Kalee Philips had 18 digs.
Gracee Dalton, Sesi Latu and Alli Miles led a balanced Tooele attack with six kills each. Brinley Smith and Sadee Simmons each had five kills, and Dalton and Simmons each had two aces. Simmons added five blocks, 12 digs and 16 assists and Miles had three blocks.
Dalton led the Buffs with 18 digs, Chandra Haskell had 17 and Latu had 10.
The final two weeks of the regular season will be crucial for both teams. Stansbury clinched a playoff berth with the win over Tooele, but faced Juan Diego at home Tuesday night in a match that could wrap up second place. The Stallions will travel to Bonneville on Thursday before wrapping things up Oct. 16 at home against Ogden.
Tooele is fighting for its postseason future. The Buffs will travel to Juan Diego on Thursday, with their final regular-season home game coming Oct. 16 against Bonneville. Bonneville’s magic number for clinching fourth place is two, meaning if Tooele loses either of its final two matches and Bonneville wins either of its final two, the Lakers are in and the Buffs are out.