Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Only two teams have been ranked No. 1 in 2A volleyball this season, but that doesn't mean the state tournament is a two-horse race.
"I think it'll be good," said Richfield head coach Brett Beagley. "I think you'll see a lot of really competitive games, especially first day. A lot of those matches could go five sets."
The defending 2A champion Wildcats started the season at No. 1 in the rankings, in large part because they returned most of last year's title team.
"We have seven seniors," said Beagley. "This is my 11th year and I've never had that. They've been playing volleyball together, basketball; they've grown up together, competed their whole lives together and against each other. It's a real healthy competitive thing, and they've really kind of pulled together."
The team is led by last year's 2A MVP Megan Bean, who recently committed to play volleyball at Weber State. She has plenty of experienced help from hitter Sammi Beck and setter McKell LaJeunesse.
"We have really good athletes," he said. "Four of the starting five on the basketball team are on the volleyball team. And they all run track. They're just good athletes."
The Wildcats won the Region 15 title without losing a single set. Their first round matchup is against American Leadership. If they win that, they'll take on the winner of Millard-South Summit.
"I think we have an easier road this year because Enterprise is in that other bracket," said Beagley. "Enterprise is just dang good. They don't make a lot of mistakes."
The Wolves are led by Taylor Phelps, Riley Lyman, Anden Lyman and Dakota Robinson. They're young and they're determined to do what they couldn't last year — get to that championship game.
The Wolves were ranked No. 1 all season last year and then they lost in the semifinals to Richfield. This year, the two teams could meet again — but not until the finals.
Enterprise lost on Sept. 25 to Millard, but hasn't dropped a match since. They took second in the gold division after losing to powerhouse Rich.
The Wolves have the tougher path with a first round game against Waterford and a potential matchup against South Sevier or North Sevier in the second match.
Also in Enterprise's half of the bracket — third-ranked North Summit.
North Summit won the silver bracket of the Sevier Valley Tournament, beating Beaver and Pine View to do so, and didn't lose a region match this season.
The team will rely on hitters Kaitlin Bowser, Susie Stevens and setter McKenna Vernon.
"A lot of teams will overlook North Summit because they play up north, but they're a good team," said Beagley.
Grand is a team with a lot of potential and San Juan, last year's runner-up, is always competitive come tournament time. Gunnison won the Region 16 title without a loss and has an interesting matchup in the first round with Grand.
Rowland Hall looked to compete, with a second-place region finish, but injuries may hamper the Winged Lion's tournament run as they take on Beaver in the first round of the tournament.
South Sevier has been in and out of the rankings, but also has solid athletes and they play with a lot of fire. The Rams lost to Manti about a week ago, but that doesn't mean they won't be in the mix when the tournament starts on Thursday afternoon at Utah Valley University's UCCU Center.
2A volleyball brackets
South Sevier vs. North Sevier
Enterprise vs. Waterford
North Summit vs. Kanab
Manti vs. San Juan
Beaver vs. Rowland Hall
Gunnison vs. Grand
American Leadership vs. Richfield
Millard vs. South Summit
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