LEHI — Skyridge and Springville came in with identical 8-1 Region 8 records, but Skyridge came out the victor to earn the league title Thursday night.
Skyridge swept Springville 25-12, 25-18, 25-19 to win the Region 8 title and earn a first-round state game against Highland, the fourth-place finisher from Region 7. Springville will match with up Murray, the third-place team from the same league.
It was senior night, and Skyridge honored its five seniors, Reagan Calton, Cici Hauver, Sherstin Pond, Emilee Rupp and Brinley Watkins, who see quite a bit of court time.
They got plenty of support, and junior Kenadee Christensen was the dominant player in the third and final set that delivered the region trophy to the Falcons.
With the score tied 17-17, Syridge scored eight of the next nine points, and on all eight Falcon points, Christensen provided the kill shot, with several of them being quite thunderous and bringing the Falcon faithful to their feet.
"That's what you're looking for in your outside hitter," said Falcon head coach Deanna Meyer. "You really want them to terminate the point when you really need it. It was a big growth moment and confidence booster for Kenadee to do it when it was tight."
As a head coach Meyer, has won region titles at three different schools (Granger, Lone Peak and Skyridge). But to her, each one is special.
"I was just as nervous and excited as the girls," Meyer related. "Personally, it was like the first time because it's their first region title. Every year it's what you do (as a coach) with the kids you have that matters."
Meyer was especially happy for her seniors who have showed strong leadership in the program, just in its second year of existence.
"Our seniors do a good job leading and facilitating growth," Meyer said. "What they learned is that they have to care about each other. They have shown extraordinary leadership in creating a positive atmosphere."
Calton, a senior who plays libero and led the team with 15 digs, was extremely happy to win the Region 8 title.
"It feels awesome," Calton said. "My team is awesome."
Pond, one of the team's outside hitters, also reflected on the region season.
"It's pretty awesome. All our hard work is paying off. It feels good," Pond said.
Hauver, one of two setters employed by the Falcons, had 14 assists and two aces. Rupp, who plays middle blocker, had six kills and one block while Watkins chipped in with four kills.
Besides Christensen, two other juniors came up huge to help the Falcons come out on top. Setter Kaitlin Standifird led the team with 15 assists and three service aces, while Alice Ellsworth had six kills and two blocks from her middle blocker position.
Skyridge finished its league season 9-1, dropping a five-set match at Wasatch. Springville swept Wasatch but lost to the Falcons at home earlier in the region season, setting up Thursday night's match for the trophy. With the loss, Springville dropped to 8-2 in league action. Wasatch finished third in the region and Timpanogos was fourth and will make up the Region 8 representation at the state tournament, which starts Friday, Nov. 3, at the Utah Valley UCCU Event Center.
Brian Preece is a freelance sportswriter. He was the head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994-2006, and in 2006 Preece was named Utah Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Looking for more coverage of your team? Join our high school sports contributor group at DeseretConnect.com.