High school volleyball: 2A state tournament narrowed to final four, highlighted by South Sevier’s surprising run

The death of a South Sevier High School student earlier this week left a community in pain, but people still rallied around the school’s volleyball team. 

South Sevier defeated Draper APA 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 and Duchesne 27-27, 25-27, 23-25, 25-21 Friday in Richfield during the 2A state tournament to advance to the tournament semifinals on Saturday.

“It’s been a rough week in the community, so this feels good,” said South Sevier coach Sharie Bigelow. “They played loose and had a little fun with the game.”

The Rams came into the tournament as the 13th seed, and ended up booting both the No. 4 and 5 teams out of contention Friday. 

Kenzie Parsons as a freshman has been one of the team’s go-to players this year, and Friday’s matches were no exception as she swatted away multiple shots at the net.

“Kinley Jenson, our other middle blocker has also been great,” Bigelow said. “She’s smart and can jump high.

“We’ve been telling them all season that their record doesn’t reflect how good they are. We told them this is their chance. They have an opportunity here and I hope they take it. We have nothing to lose. No one expected us to be here, so we may as well play our hearts out.”

South Sevier will be facing Parowan in the semifinals Saturday. 

Parowan came out on top in a four-set match against North Sevier Friday, even after losing the first set big, 25-13.

“They gave us a scare,” said Parowan coach Macey Yardley. “We didn’t expect the first game to look the way it did, but I’m proud of the girls for being able to bounce back.”

Parowan won the next three 25-22, 25-20, 25-20. 

“We always preach to them that’s the best thing about volleyball,” Yardley said. “They can beat you by 25, but the next game starts at zero and it’s a new mentality.”

While Parowan earned the top seed in the tournament, it included a bullseye on its back, Yardley said. 

“We are very aware of South Sevier,” Yardley said of her team’s next opponent.

Earlier in the year, South Sevier was able to get up on Parowan 2-0, so they represent a threat. 

“Parowan volleyball hasn’t had a lot of success, so having this pressure on their shoulders has been big,” Yardley said. “They are weathering the storm really well. I’m really proud of them.”

Paige Felder, a sophomore, has been a key component for Parowan as she has hit the 30 mark on kills multiple times this season, and Yardley said Maddie Adams “has been an absolute defensive monster for us.”

In addition, setter Lanie Williams has also been a factor, keeping the other side guessing as to where the next shot might come from.

In other action Friday, No. 2 Kanab took care of business by defeating Rowland Hall 25-9, 25-7, 25-11 and Waterford 25-19, 25-15, 25-12.

“Anything we can control, we work on,” said Kami Houston, Kanab’s head coach. “We have a tough region,” Houston said. “We and Parowan split, so it’s been a lot of fun.”

Houston said her players love to play volleyball and compete. 

“I’ve been coaching the juniors in the feeder program for years,” Houston said, which has started to pay off.

“It’s really been a team effort for us,” Houston said. “We’re just going to keep battling for each ball and each point and hope that it goes our way.” 

Kanab will face North Summit in Saturday’s semifinals.

No. 3 North Summit outlasted Millard in a brutal five-set match Friday night to secure its spot in the semifinals. 

That came after Millard swept North Summit earlier this season.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” North Summit coach Samantha Stephens said. “They are a great team.”

North Summit won the first game 25-18 Friday, but the Eagles won the next two 25-21, 25-15.

North Summit was able to cement the win with a 25-20 victory in the fourth, and then a dominant 15-7 cap. 

“In that last game they realized they wanted to take control and not just let things happen,” Stephens said. 

With five sophomores on the court, North Summit is relying on a young slate of players through this season.

“We’ve had some ups and downs,” Stephens said. “I’m just really proud they came back and worked hard.’

Presley Peterson, a junior, has been leading the team in kills, especially when she can get a good set up. Avery Judi, a senior, and Hayzlyn Murdock also did great work at the net facing off against some very tough blockers from Millard, Stephens said. 

North Summit also defeated Wasatch Academy 25-18, 25-11, 25-11 earlier in the day. 

The tournament is set to conclude Saturday at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.

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