STATE CHAMPIONS: Bobcats win 4A title in thrilling five set match

OREM— The Sky View volleyball team didn’t run into a whole bunch of adversity during the 2012 season. Even during the first few rounds of the 4A State Tournament, the Bobcats cruised through in straight sets. 

However, that all changed Saturday night when Sky View met defending state champion Timpview in the 4A title game. The Bobcats used valiant comeback efforts in the first and fifth sets to defeat the Thunderbirds 3-2 and win the state championship.

The Bobcats had a very difficult path to the 4A title match as they faced 2011 runner-up Salem Hills. Sky View cruised over Salem Hills in straight sets, before the five-set victory over Timpview (26-24, 18-25, 25-18, 16-25, 18-16).

“As I got the brackets and looked at the possibilities, we knew that getting here would be a battle,” SV head coach Malayna Knowles said. “I’m actually glad because there are no easy games and these girls have to come in knowing they’ve got to play their best for two days and for four matches. There is no let up and no relaxing, just all out for two days. I think that served us well at the end. You can’t quit, you’ve got to keep going.”

The Bobcats first took care of business against a Salem Hills team, which knocked them out from the 2011 4A playoffs in the second round.

“We went it to that game so determined,” SV outside hitter Maddie Day said. “They were the ones who knocked us out in the quarterfinals last year. We beat them the first two sets and they came back and took us the next three. We were so determined to come back and get that win and move on to the next game.”

Sky View battled to a tough first-set victory 30-28 before cruising in the next two sets 25-16, 25-17.

“It felt so good,” setter Morgan Webb said. “When our crowd started doing the sweep cheer it finally hit that we were going to the finals.”

The Bobcats served very well against Salem Hills as they did against Springville and Skyline.

“That was the best I’ve seen our team play,” Knowles said. “We passed so well against Salem Hills and we struggled passing against Timpview. Not being able to pass and not being able to run our offense, it’s usually what we do to other people but that was definitely a struggle for us.”

Sky View played behind most of the first set against Timpview and the Bobcats found themselves in a difficult position when the Thunderbirds pushed their advantage to 24-20. Day took over for the final six points as she pounded away a kill and went on to serve back-to-back aces as part of a 6-0 run.

“There were some girls who showed some maturity and have unbelievable heart and are true competitors,” Knowles said. “You give them a challenge and they feed off the challenge. They thrive off the challenge. I think Maddie loves that challenge. They are all fierce competitors, but I think they all look to Maddie. If Maddie tells them they can do it, they can do it.”

Day finished the match against Timpview with 18 kills and three aces.

“She is definitely one of our team leaders,” Webb said. “We have more than one go-to girl, we have a lot of hitters, but she is definitely a team leader that will step up and do what it takes to help everyone get back together and regroup.”

Sky View did a lot of regrouping against Timpview as the T-birds took set two with ease. Sky View held Timpview close early before the T-birds jumped out to a 15-7 advantage.

“Timpview is a great team and we knew that they were determined,” Day said. “They have been the underdog so many times and they have upset teams like crazy, so we knew that we had to give it everything we had.”

Sky View finished the second set on a 5-2 run and carried that momentum into the third set as it built a 15-9 lead it would not relinquish. 

Timpview pushed back in the fourth set which sent the Bobcats into unfamiliar territory.

“We’ve have not had a lot of fifth games, so to have to go to a fifth game is a little bit of new territory for our girls,” Knowles said. “We have done stuff in practice, but to their credit it’s nothing that I’ve done. I think it speaks to the heart and character of these girls that they don’t know how to quit. It doesn’t matter what the scores or what may have happened before, they just don’t know how to quit.”

Sky View jumped out to a 6-2 lead led by kills from Day, Taylor Duryea and Tara Goldman, but Timpview responded back with a 10-4 run to take a 12-10 lead and put the Bobcats on the brink.

“We’ve come back from being down so far so many times this season,” Day said. “We just know in our minds that anything is possible, and as an athlete you just have to have that mindset in your head. I put it on myself and I’m sure everyone put it on themselves at the end of that game that we were going to do it. I was willing to carry the team if I had to, but everyone stepped up and we did awesome.”

Through the final points of the fifth set, Sky View fought through service errors and failing to notch set points with the advantage.

“It was definitely back and forth,” Webb said. “It came down to the team who fight through it and come together as a team. We had our ups and downs, but in the end we were definitely a team.”

Timpview held a 16-15 lead and serve when Day scored two points in a row on a kill and an ace. Duryea pounded the final point away to seal the victory.

“We had some bad serves and we made things a little bit harder than I would have liked, but I’ll take the outcome,” Knowles said. 

<strong>BULLDOGS 3, MUSTANGS 0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-11)</strong>

The Mustangs met a difficult conclusion to their 2012 season with three-set loss to the Provo Bulldogs.

MC outside hitter Katie Harvey had nine kills and four blocks in a match the went south for Mountain Crest after the tough first set.

“We were playing not to lose, we weren’t playing to win,” MC head coach Lori Karaghouli said. “We were playing safe and you can’t dominate like that and that’s what we were doing.”

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