Michael Brandy, Deseret News
OREM — It is not the fear of losing his first volleyball contest in 67 matches that keeps Troy Norris up at night.
It's the knowledge that he will, without a doubt, lose the chance to coach his daughter after the 1A tournament concludes tonight.
"It'll be sad," said Norris, the Panguitch head volleyball coach after the top-ranked team defeated Monument Valley 25-9, 25-10, 25-15 in the 1A tournament's quarterfinal round. "It's been a fun run."
It was Kalani Norris, last year's 1A MVP who committed to play for UVU next season, who led the Bobcats in the win over the Cougars. She finished with 27 kills, while her teammate Tayler Tebbs added four kills and Breanne Bateman finished with five kills.
Norris said the team is playing confidently, but with the knowledge that anything can happen in the playoffs.
"You always get nervous," said Norris as he watched No. 2 Rich battle with No. 3 Monticello on an adjacent court. "Volleyball is a funny game."
He said to finish what this team started last season is important to all of them, but for him there is the added desire to win one last title with his daughter.
"As a dad, you want it that much more," he said.
The Bobcats looked pretty impressive in both matches Thursday as they swept both opponents. Still, he said they were making adjustments and changes as recently as last week.
"I'm not going to tell you what, though," he said smiling. "If we can go out and play, we can play with anyone. This team has had just a phenomenal year."
Monument Valley played much better defense against the tough-hitting Bobcats in the third game. For the Cougars to earn a shot at the top-ranked Bobcats, they had to beat Region 18's second seed, Dugway. The Cougars defeated them in five tough games 22-25, 25-9, 21-25, 25-10, 15-7.
The team was led in Thursday's matches by sophomore middle hitter Kori Valentine and setter Taneia Kamenske, who is also a sophomore.
"So far, I'm really proud of them," said head coach Lanell Menard-Parrish. "I lost all my starters last year (to graduation). So to get this far, I'm really proud of them."
The loss means the Cougars move to the fifth-place bracket where they will take on Duchesne.
RICH DEF. MONTICELLO 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22: The second-ranked Rebels defeated the third-ranked Buckaroos in the most exciting quarterfinal matchup. The two squads battled for every point with Amy Weston and Courtney Lamborn leading the Rebels offense. Lamborn earned 17 kills, while Weston added nine kills. Nicole Lamborn earned 10 kills in the win. Setter Cassidy McKee finished with 32 assists.
Rich will play Piute at 2 p.m. In the semifinals Friday.
Monticello will take on Altamont in the fifth-place bracket at 11 a.m. Friday.
ST. JOSEPH DEF. DUCHESNE 25-23, 25-14, 25-14: The Jayhawks swept Eagles to earn their first semifinal berth since 2004. Led by freshman Britt Sederholm, who had 15 kills, the fourth-ranked Jayhawks will face top-ranked Panguitch in the semifinals. That game will begin at 2 p.m. Friday.
Duchesne will play Monument Valley in the fifth-place bracket at 11 a.m. Friday.
PIUTE DEF. ALTAMONT 25-12, 25-5, 25-16: The T-birds dominated the Longhorns in the quarterfinal match behind the offense of senior Kandice Gleave. She earned 21 kills against a tough Altamont squad, enabling the fifth-ranked T-birds to play in the semifinals.
Piute will square off against Rich in the 2 p.m. Semifinal match on Friday.
Altamont will take on Monticello in the fifth-place bracket at 11 a.m. Friday.
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