OREM — All four Region 9 teams at the 3A State Volleyball Championship won in the Round of 16, a clean sweep against central Utah’s Region 12.
The surprise was that of the Pine View Panthers, the No. 4 seed from the region, who came back from an 0-2 deficit to win three straight sets against North Sanpete. The Panthers nearly played their way into the semifinals, too, falling just short against the Tooele Lady Buffs.
Snow Canyon had a long layoff in between its win in less than an hour of playing against the Canyon View Falcons. After the sweep the Warriors didn’t play for another three hours, and they easily dispatched of the Stansbury Stallions in the quarterfinals.
The Dixie Flyers put in a good showing with a four-set win against Carbon, but they ran into the juggernaut, Morgan — last year’s state runner-up.
Following the semifinal matches at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the 3A State Volleyball Championship match is at 5 p.m.
No. 1 Snow Canyon Warriors
Snow Canyon made a statement in its first set of the quarterfinals against Stansbury. It showed that anybody can score at any time. It wasn’t just Alexsa “Crash” Parker who contributed points with her back corner kills (although she had plenty). Ally Dunston, Sydnie Hoskins, Nikenna Durante and Jamee Carpenter all scored in that first set, setting the tone for the match.
Parker’s kill to the Stansbury back line in the third set that made the score 16-8 was just one of several points scored where SC looked near unbeatable. The Warriors rolled to a three-set sweep, 25-14, 25-15, 25-12.
Is Snow Canyon the team of destiny again, playing in head coach Alaina Parker’s final state tournament?
Snow Canyon faces Tooele in the semifinals Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
No. 2 Desert Hills Thunder
Desert Hills is back in the semifinals to play against Morgan. The semis are a familiar place for head coach Jill Swaney, who decided to continue coaching this season after briefly stepping down.
The Thunder are seemingly playing with house money all of 2015, so why couldn’t they upset Morgan in the semifinals?
The Thunder were the last ones to start playing Wednesday because of the lengthy Logan-Tooele match. They also had to play on the bright yellow court.
But neither obstacle bothered them. They took care of Richfield in a sweep to get into the quarterfinals.
The Union Cougars, on the other hand, were almost too much for the Thunder to handle. The No. 1 seed from Region 10 won the fourth set against Desert Hills to force a fifth.
But the Thunder got it done when it mattered. They swatted Union by eight points in the final frame to get the five-set victory and advance to the semifinals. They play against Morgan at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
No. 3 Dixie Flyers
The Dixie Flyers did as well as expected with a first-round win against the Carbon Dinos, 25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 25-22.
However, the Morgan Trojans are on a mission after losing the state championship to Snow Canyon last year. Unfortunately, the Flyers were the latest victim in that mission.
The good news for Dixie is that there is still a chance to place fifth in the tournament. The Flyers placed fourth in 2014.
No. 4 Pine View Panthers
The Pine View Panthers seemed down and out for the count in their match against North Sanpete in the afternoon.
Facing an 0-2 deficit, the Panthers turned it around to win the next three sets, all by three points each.
Pine View had the quickest turnaround with its quarterfinal match scheduled to be played on the same court that Snow Canyon won in the first round. Less than an hour after beating North Sanpete, the Panthers were back on the floor for warm-ups.
And they gave Tooele a five-set battle until the Lady Buffs pulled away, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-10.
Just like with the Dixie Flyers, Pine View has a chance to place fifth during Thursday’s consolation matches. The Panthers didn’t qualify for state in 2014.
Follow Richard Briggs on Twitter, @BriggsRich. Call him at 435-674-6233.