Nick Wagner, Deseret News
FILE: Rich and Panguitch compete during the UHSAA class 1A volleyball title match in Orem on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Rich defeated Panguitch 3-1 for the championship crown.


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PANGUITCH — Troy Norris wasn’t quite sure what to expect this season with the addition of a sixth classification.

“I thought it was going to be a down year, but it’s been a lot better than I thought it would be,” said the Panguitch head volleyball coach. “We’ve played quite a few teams, and there are some good teams. … I think Panguitch and Rich are by far the two best teams if they’re on, but there are another five teams that could be there.”

The top-ranked Bobcats have played most of the 1A teams in the tournament, which begins Friday at UVU’s UCCU Center. Most of the top teams compete in the Sevier Valley Tournament two weeks before the playoffs.

Rich and Panguitch were in different brackets.

“We won ours and they won theirs,” Norris said. “We won the whole thing because they lost to North Sanpete. … Richfield beat us, and they beat Richfield pretty easily.”

The tournament, as most coaches know, is always unpredictable.

“It’s just whoever is on,” he said.

The top-ranked Bobcats rely on 11 players.

“I’ve got a year unlike any I’ve ever had,” Norris said. “It’s neat that we can play that many and not drop off. I have six hitters.” The team has two seniors — Jordan Bennett and Alyssa Fischer — who captain the deep, talented team.

Panguitch opens the tournament with Pinnacle at 10 a.m. Second-ranked Rich opens with the winner of the play-in game between Wayne and Bryce Valley. The play-in game will be at 8 a.m. Friday at UVU.

The Rebels are led by veteran outside hitters Julia Hopkin and Savannah Peart, while the offense is orchestrated by setter Kierra Groll. The defense is anchored by returning libero Amber Smith.

Third-ranked Monticello will open the tournament with the winner of the Dugway/Water Canyon match, while fourth-ranked Tabiona will take on Tintic in their first playoff match.

Fifth-ranked Intermountain Christian will open with Wendover. ICS is a No. 3 seed, but it broke into the rankings after upsetting Region 21 champ Milford.

The 1A championship match is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.