Aliyah Sopoaga, Copper Hills volleyball

TAYLORSVILLE — Copper Hills added to its impressive start, defeating Taylorsville 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-12) at Taylorsville High School on Thursday. With the win, the Grizzlies improved their record to 10-2 as they won their first region game.

“Taylorsville played us well. They always do, no matter how well they do prior to playing us, they always play well. As you can hear, it’s a loud house when we come here. They played us well. I think that we did a really good job of staying disciplined because we always talk about, ‘It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,’ so I just think that our discipline will always win out as long as we stay disciplined,” Copper Hills head coach Silver Fonua said.

Fonua singled out Aliyah Sopoaga, Asiah Sopoaga and Teniyah Leuluai as standouts from the victory. Aliyah Sopoaga had four kills and 15 assists, Asiah Sopoaga turned in seven kills and Leuluai had four kills and five assists.

“The Sopoaga twins, they always do well. They do a lot of things on the court athletically that a lot of kids can’t do. Another big one for us is Teniyah Leuluai, she’s our other setter. She coming back from an injury but she makes a difference on our team. She gives us more ball control, she gives us another setter that allows the other twin to hit,” Fonua said.

A key run at the end of the first set gave Copper Hills momentum and set the tone for the rest of the match. The Grizzlies won eight of out the final nine points to claim the first set. Copper Hills would carry that momentum into the second set, where it pulled away in the middle of the set. In the third and final set, the Grizzlies won six out of the last seven points to put the Warriors away.

“We’ve been together for two years, that unit that’s in there right now. During the summer, we’ve played enough matches, we’ve learned how to close out games. Taylorsville made a little run at the end, but we’re always confident in our ability to close out games. We always use that to carry to the next game. Even if we don’t win a set, we always try to win a couple of points towards the end to gain momentum, like I said, it’s always a marathon. We want to win the marathon, we don’t care so much about the sprint,” Fonua said.

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Twelve games in, Fonua says that he has learned a lot about his team — especially about its mentality.

“We have grit, and I think that’s something that you learn through experience and with confidence and it comes with hard work. Last year, we’re young, but grit comes with experience and grit is just pushing it to another level and actually executing. I think this year, we have grit, so that’s a big difference with this group, and they stand out because they have so much grit,” Fonua said.