High school volleyball: Familiar teams contend in 1A, 2A and 3A

Published: Monday, Oct. 24 2011 9:00 p.m. MDT

Morgan and Juan Diego play for the 3A State Championship. Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Photo by Scott G Winerton Deseret News.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

The pain of a heartbreaking loss in the 2A championship was still raw when the Enterprise volleyball team began talking about what they needed to do to get back to that 2A title match.

"We start that talk at the end of every year," said Enterprise head coach Brian Phelps of the discussions that took place after the 2A state volleyball tournament last October. "We started the summer, and Tressa (Lyman, last year's 2A MVP) was so outstanding, some of it was that they didn't think it was a possibility. As we played in the summer, they started to see it as a possibility. We knew we needed some of our young kids to come along and they have."

The squad is led by lone senior Summer Terry, an outside hitter. The offense relies on freshmen Riley Lyman and junior Anden Lyman, both Tressa's younger sisters. The offense is run by junior setter Taylor Phelps.

Youth has made the season a little unpredictable, but the squad is playing well when it matters most. Heading into this weekend's tournament, the Wolves are ranked No. 1 after an impressive performance at the Sevier Valley Tournament two weeks ago. They finished in second place after losing another nail-biter to 1A's top-ranked team, Rich.

"It's a good preparation," said Phelps of the tournament, which features some of the best teams in 1A, 2A and 3A.

The trademark of this year's 2A tournament may be that the title could go to just about any team in the playoffs.

"It's whoever performs in those four games," said Phelps.

The classification is very competitive and some of that is young talent, while another aspect is more depth across the board.

"I don't think there is the big power hitters that we've seen," said Phelps. "But the overall play is better — passing serving and that kind of thing."

The Wolves don't have an easy road this weekend when they begin play at UVU on Friday morning. They take on Emery, Region 15's No. 4 seed, in the first round.

The only team to navigate region play without a loss in 2A is Richfield, which is currently ranked second. The Wildcats are led by junior middle blocker Megan Bean, who leads the team in kills and blocks. Richfield opens the tournament with Millard, a No. 4 seed from Region 13. The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 1 after beating San Juan in nonregion play, lost to Enterprise in the SVC tournament.

Defending 2A state champion San Juan started the season ranked No. 1 and for good reason. The Broncos return some talented players from last year's squad, and the program always performs well when it matters most.

The Broncos won the 2A championship five straight years from 2003 to 2007 and then didn't even play for a consolation place in 2008 and 2009. Then the Broncos defeated Enterprise in a thriller last year. The Broncos return first-team all staters Brooke Lyman, a junior, and senior setter Simone Shumway.

San Juan is the No. 2 seed from Region 15, after losing both region matches to Richfield (and one nonregion match) and splitting with Grand, another squad which lost its star player.

Enterprise had a loss to Beaver in the first round of region play, while Waterford won the Region 14 title with one loss to South Summit. The Ravens open the state tournament against Gunnison, a No. 4 seed from Region 16.

Manti competed in 3A last season and the Templars won the Region 16 title with just one loss to North Sevier. Manti starts the state tournament against Rowland Hall, a No. 4 seed from Region 14.

The Beavers open with Grand, which could be the best match of the first round in the tournament.

The 2A state championship match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.