High school volleyball: 1A tournament features familiar favorites
1A State Volleyball Playoff Brackets
St. Joseph vs. Wayne, 8 a.m.
Panguitch vs. Green River, 9:30 a.m.
Monument Valley vs. Wendover, 9:30 a.m.
Escalante vs. Rich, 8 a.m.
Milford vs. Monticello, 11 a.m.
Duchesne vs. Layton Christian, 12:30 p.m.
Manila vs. Tintic, 12:30 p.m.
ICS vs. Piute, 11 a.m.
SALT LAKE CITY — This year's 1A State Tournament will feature some familiar favorites, but the outcome is anybody's guess.
"I don't think anyone has an edge," said St. Joseph head coach Ray Franklin. "You've just go to go and play every single game."
Last year's champion, Monticello, has been ranked second all season and didn't lose a game in region play. But last year's runner-up, Rich High, also went undefeated in region play and beat up on much bigger schools to earn the No. 1 ranking in the classification.
Rich lost a good portion of last year's starters, but the team is playing just as dominant as the program always does. This year the Rebels have beaten 2A's top-ranked team (Enterprise), St. Joseph, the defending 2A state champion (Richfield) and 4A's Mountain Crest.
"I think they're awesome," said Franklin of the Rebels. "I don't think they lost a step from last year. Well, they're always good."
The Rebels have a roster loaded with experience, as eight of the team's varsity players are seniors. Setter Jerica Sorochuk is a sophomore and opp/outside hitter Cami Lamborn and outside hitter/libero Ellen Peart are juniors. Emma Peart (OH), Alyssa Brown (S), Mackenzie Asay (MB), Megan Muirbrook (MB/DS), Kylee Frandsen (MB), Alisa Petersen (MB/OH), Lynzee Wallentine (OH) and Jacie Rex (OPP/MB) are the team's seniors.
The Rebels take on Escalante in the first round of the tournament, and like last year, don't have a chance to meet the defending state champion Monticello Buckaroos until the finals.
Like Rich, the Buckaroos have tested themselves by playing bigger schools, but the Buckaroos weren't as successful as the Rebels, losing to Grand and San Juan. Monticello will start the tournament with Milford and could meet Latyon Christian, Region 17's second-place team, in the quarterfinals.
The only 1A team to take a set from the Rebels was third-ranked St. Joseph. The Jayhawks finished third in last year's state tournament, after losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Monticello.
The Jayhawks went undefeated in region play thanks to consistently great play from Britt Sederholm, Jessie Bischoff, Mady White, Bailey Pacheco and Emily Jackson.
"We're young, but everyone but the freshman played in last year's state tournament," said Franklin.
Panguitch took fifth last year, beating Wayne in consolation play. Both teams could be factors this season.
St. Joseph will face Wayne in the first game of the tournament and the Jayhawks have one of the toughest second-round matches as they take on the winner of Green River and Panguitch.
Both the Pirates and Bobcats have been ranked all year, and they both have talent and tenacity. That first-round contest should not only be the most competitive but the toughest to call.
Region 18 champion Wendover will face Monument Valley in the first round.
All girls volleyball tournament games will be streamed live at www.deseretnews.com. First matches are at 8 a.m. Friday.
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