Favorites advance in 3A tourney

By Steve Mundee

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Oct. 27 2011 11:50 p.m. MDT

OREM — Snow Canyon, Delta, Juan Diego and Morgan each made it through unscathed to the semifinal round of the 3A state playoffs Thursday night.

Snow Canyon didn't drop a single set as the Warriors saw themselves breeze through the first two rounds of the tournament.

"We're exactly where we need to be," said Snow Canyon head coach Alaina Parker. "We need to keep playing hard and maintain a high level of focus."

The five-time defending 4A state champs aren't ordering their rings just yet though; in fact they aren't even thinking about the championship game.

"Whoever we play next is who we're focused," Parker said.

The team Snow Canyon will face in the semifinals is last year's runner up, Juan Diego. The Soaring Eagle battled North Sanpete in what was the match of the tournament, so far. Juan Diego beat the Hawks in five sets 23-23, 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12.

"I'm really proud of the way we left it all out there," said Juan Diego coach Todd Holzhauser. "There were a lot of times we could have given up, but we didn't do that."

Holzhauser is effective in guiding the Soaring Eagle in the tournament despite only being the head coach for the past six weeks.

Snow Canyon and Juan Diego are unfamiliar foes, but Holzhauser feels that his team matches up well with the Warriors.

"Ciara (Parker) is a great setter, but have a great one too with Jessika Long," said Holzhauser.

On the other side of the bracket, Delta swept Tooele in the first round before downing Desert Hills in a four-set battle in the quarterfinals.

The Thunder gave Delta some trouble with their blocking scheme, but Rabbits coach Deb Jenkins simply moved the front row around to solve the issue. Kennedy Springer played a crucial role in the victory with 31 kills. Academic all-stater Jenna Bradfield recorded 20 kills of her own and 12 digs, while Janea George hustled for 24 digs.

Delta has a tall order as it will face No. 1-ranked Morgan in the semifinals. Delta coach Deb Jenkins will be facing her former coach, Liz Wiscombe, when these two teams meet this afternoon. Wiscombe complimented her former player saying that, "she is a great coach and has done a great job with that program."

"We'll just bring what Delta brings to the game," said Jenkins.

Delta is a hard-hitting team and Jenkins believes the Rabbits will grab a victory over the Trojans if they pass the ball well.

Morgan punched its ticket to the semifinals by escaping a scrappy team from Dixie. The Trojans won the match 3-1, but each set was extremely competitive.

"I take my hat of to that team (Dixie), they played hard the entire time" said Wiscombe. "We had to work hard to get the win."

Wiscombe also credited her team.

"We play with passion. I don't think you can ever count this team out."

Play resumes Friday in the UCCU Center at 2 p.m. with the championship match taking place at 7 p.m.

email: smundee@desnews.com

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