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High school volleyball: Rich climbs back to top of 1A mountain

Published: Sunday, Nov. 2 2008 12:13 a.m. MDT

OREM — Revenge. Redemption. Return to power.

Those are the three Rs the Rich Rebels were looking to accomplish in one fell swoop against the Panguitch Bobcats in the championship of the 1A volleyball tournament.

And they succeeded at every one with their 25-15, 25-12, 25-11 victory over last year's 1A champs.

Last year the Rebels lost their eight-year stranglehold on the 1A title to those same Panguitch Bobcats. This year, not only did they want their title back, they wanted to do it against the team that took it away from them.

"We wanted to meet them again in the championships," said Rich setter Cami Barthlome, who completed her senior season with her most important victory. "I think it feels better to get it back than to just keep it."

And with 23 assists, most of them going to Allie Eastman, she was a huge part of that major accomplishment. Eastman, the tournament MVP, proved just how unstoppable she could be, living up to the chants of the crowd behind her as they shouted, "You can't stop her."

Eastman finished with 20 kills in the three very short games, and she had only two errors in the match.

"She's just an athlete. She has so much energy, and she can do it all. She's amazing for her size," said Rich coach Cindy Stuart.

"We had a little more motivation than normal to get this one. Our mission was to continue our tradition (of championships)," Stuart said.

"It feels wonderful. In the back of my mind all day, I kept thinking I wanted to get it back from them. It felt great to play really well as a team tonight. I was seeing the court really well, so where there wasn't a block I was trying to get it past them," said Eastman.

The Rebels did not just count on Eastman as they're bringing in a new powerhouse in freshman Courtney Lamborn, who put down nine kills on the Bobcats herself.

"I feel like I've been waiting forever to finally get a championship. I've wanted to play Panguitch for a long time," said Lamborn, who was at the championships last year when her team lost and was hoping to help return the title to Rich this year.

Panguitch did put up a fight, actually cutting the lead to 10-9 in the first game and holding their first and only lead of the match at 1-0 in the third, but they just didn't have enough power or personnel to take out the Eastman power and the strong passing game of Chelsey Brown, who had 20 points on serve receptions.

ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM

MVP: Allie Eastman, Rich

Cami Barthlome, Rich

Courtney Lamborn, Rich

Chelsey Brown, Rich

Kalani Norris, Panguitch

Swayzi Slade, Monticello

Samara Wells, Monticello

Amanda Bagley, Piute


E-MAIL: jolsen@desnews.com

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