HYRUM — Coming into Tuesday evening’s volleyball match, the Mustangs knew they were facing a tough opponent.
Nearly two weeks ago Mountain Crest had faced 5A Farmington at the Davis Tournament. The Phoenix had won in straight sets.
This time the Mustangs had Farmington on their home court. The outcome was still the same as the visitors won in three, 25-14, 25-15, 25-23.
“That is a good team,” MC head coach Kindra Anderson said of Farmington. “... We are learning to compete, to fight back and gaining that confidence that we can compete no matter who is on the other side of the court.”
Mountain Crest (7-3) played better as the match wore on. In fact, the Mustangs led for a good portion of the third set. The Phoenix (10-0) just proved why they are one of the best teams in the state.
“We learn how to dig deep and not get down on ourselves,” said MC outside hitter Alison Pehrson when asked about playing a quality team like Farmington. “We just learned that we need to play to the best of our abilities. We showed that we can compete with them. We just need to not get down on ourselves.”
Farmington has not dropped a set so far this season. In fact, the Phoenix have only been pushed a couple of times in a set. The 23 points the Mustangs got in the third set was the most Farmington has allowed this season. Davis recorded 22 in a set, while Mountain Crest in the first meeting had 20. Those are the only three sets the Phoenix have allowed a set to be that close.
“We decided in that third set we were not going to give up,” Anderson said. “It didn’t matter what the score was; we were not going to give up. We got some confidence and realized we can compete with good teams.”
The Mustangs never led in the first set and enjoyed a brief advantage early in the second set before the Phoenix used a couple of 6-0 runs to take a commanding lead. But the third set was different.
With setter Jaycee Osborne serving, Mountain Crest got a block from Ashtyn Tholen to start the third game. A hitting error and a kill from Pehrson gave the hosts their biggest lead of then night. They quickly added to it with a kill from Tholen to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
“Jaycee is coming back from an injury, so it took a bit to get her going,” Anderson said. “Having her in there made a difference. Sadie (Chambers) did a fantastic job (at setter when Osborne was out) when she was in there. But Jaycee just knows the offense and knows how to run it more effectively.”
Each time Farmington got within a point, the Mustangs responded. Tally Sofonia had a pair of kills, Osborne had kill and a ace, Tholen came up with another kill, Pehrson finished off a strong swing, and Ella Douglass came through with back-to-back kills.
“We just had a bunch of fire in the third and wanted to win,” Pehrson said. “We communicated better, worked hard and played better together.”
Still, the Phoenix kept rising. They used a 4-0 run for a 16-15 lead. It was the first time they were ahead in the third set. The Mustangs tied it at 18 and 19, but could never get back in front.
Pehrson had a couple more kills, and Sofonia drew MC within 24-23 with a kill of her own. But Farmington finished it off with a kill.
Sofonia led the team with six kills and also had 15 digs. Pehrson and Tholan each had five kills, while Tholen hit .625. Pehrson had three aces and nine digs. Jordon Flippence had a match-best 25 digs.
“Tally (Sofonia) did a really good job all the way around,” Anderson said. “She brought it when we needed her to. It’s a total team effort with this group. We can’t do it without any of them.”
Region 11 play begins next week. Are the Mustangs ready?
“I’m really excited for region,” Pehrson said. “I think we will do good. We’ve been practicing hard and we are excited.”
WOLVES 3, VIKINGS 0
Green Canyon had no trouble with 5A Viewmont at home.
The Wolves (5-5) rolled to a 25-17, 25-9, 25-17 victory over the Vikings (2-14).
“I’m proud of my girls and I’m happy with how they’ve been playing our last few matches,” GC head coach Madison Larsen said. “Things are starting to click and it’s fun to see them continually improving.”
Shante Falslev had four aces and led the team with 10 kills. Sarah Blau had 23 assists and 14 digs. Jacie Walker had seven kills and hit .357.
PRESTON 3, POCATELLO 1
In a big district game in Preston, the host Indians came out on top of a hard-fought match, 25-21, 26-24, 23-25, 25-19. Preston is now 2-1 in district action.
“Pocatello pushed us tonight,” Preston head coach Karaska Haskell said. “In set two, we really had to decide to put in more work. I looked up at 11-18 and knew we needed a change. We talked about tightening up our side of the net and to execute faster. My girls rose to the challenge and came back to win that set 26-24. They are fighters.”
It was a good thing since the visiting Indians took the third set.
Hailey Meek and Hailey Winward each had 12 kills for Preston, while a trio of players had two aces each in Abie Keller, Matti Whitehead and Winward, who also had three blocks. Selyce Burnett added two blocks. Matti Whitehead led the way in digs with 24, while Keller had 18. Hannah Stephenson had 35 assists.