OREM — After a tough quarterfinal loss to Box Elder Friday, Skyridge swept Skyline and Springville Saturday to finish in fifth place at the Class 5A volleyball tournament.
The win against Skyline not only gave the Falcon head coach Deanna Meyer a win against her alma mater but her 50th career postseason win as well in her 20-year coaching career (51-16).
Meyer, the former head coach at Lone Peak, made her 16th straight trip to the playoffs, and for the 16th straight time her teams have placed in the tournament. In that span, Meyer won five state titles, finished second four times and has won at least three games at the state tournament in 13 of those 16 seasons.
After Friday's disappointing loss to Box Elder in the quarterfinals, the wins Saturday were especially gratifying to the Falcon head coach. One was against her alma mater Skyline where she was a two-year star player in the 1980s. Meyer was part of a state-title team while finishing second another year.
Then in the second match of the day, the Falcons had to get past a team they were all too familiar with, the Springville Red Devils, who they had defeated 10 days earlier to win the Region 8 crown. Meyer was extremely pleased with her team's finish.
"It was a tough loss (to Box Elder), we didn't play well," said Meyer. "But I told the girls it's how you are able to get up, step up and get back at it that's important. I just told them to be the best you are today. They took the challenge to play for pride, play for the program and play for character."
Skyridge defeated Skyline 25-19, 25-22, 25-18, sending the Falcons to the game for fifth place.
Kenadee Christensen led the Falcon charge with 15 kills, eight digs and five service aces. Kaitlin Standifird had 18 assists, four kills and 13 digs to support the superlative play of Christensen. Brinley Watkins chipped in with 10 kills, while Tylee Fuller was active defensively with 14 digs.
While Skyridge beat Skyline, Springville had sent Wasatch packing setting up the match for fifth place between the top two teams from Region 8.
Skyridge had swept the season series from the Red Devils and made it 3 for 3 winning 25-19, 25-17, 25-22.
"It feels great to win and to finish strong, especially after yesterday," said senior team captain Cici Hauver.
Hauver had 17 assists while Kaitlin Standifird had 13 assists, 13 kills and six kills. Emilee Rupp was very active hitting from her middle blocker position with 11 kills and zero errors. Christensen had nine kills and 10 digs while a nice defensive effort was made by Reagan Calton and Tylee Fuller with 15 and eight digs, respectively. In her last match as a senior, Sherstin Pond contributed five kills while junior Alice Ellsworth was a consistent performer both as a middle blocker and from the service line.
Though the team finished short of its goal of winning a state title, Meyer still felt the fifth-place finish was an important stepping stone for a program in just its second year of existence.
"We were in the same situation as last year after we lost on the first day. Last year, we finished seventh and this year we took fifth. That shows we are better as a program," stated Meyer.
Meyer also related how her five seniors (Calton, Hauver, Pond, Rupp and Watkins) were critical in the process.
"Our seniors created a culture in how to act and care," she said. "They are helping to establish a legacy. They put in a lot of work and effort."
Brian Preece is a freelance sports writer. He was also the head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994-2006 and in 2006 Preece was named as the Utah Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.