SMITHFIELD — It has been a long time since Mountain Crest has enjoyed a win against Sky View in region volleyball action.
In fact, it has been so long most of the current Mustangs were just starting school — elementary school that is. But that all ended Tuesday night at Bobcat Gym.
For the first time in 10 years, Mountain Crest beat Sky View in a region volleyball match. And it was a thriller, going five sets and even extra time. The Mustangs outlasted the Bobcats, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 17-15.
“It’s been a long time,” MC head coach Kindra Anderson said. “This is super exciting. I’m so proud of my girls. They have worked so hard for this and did it completely as a team. ... This is a huge boost for us to start region.”
The Mustangs (12-7, 1-0 region) had beat Sky View (6-7, 0-1) earlier this season in a tournament, but wanted to get it done when region play began. And they did for the first time since 2011.
“It’s wild it has been so long,” said MC outside hitter Kiera Crosbie of the long losing streak against the Bobcats.
“We’ve had a mad mental block. We played them two weeks ago in a tournament and beat them, so we knew we could do it. We’ve worked so hard as a team at practice. We want to show that we are a good team.”
It was just the way the Mustangs wanted to start league play.
“We are ready to show up in this region,” Crosbie said. “We are ready to go fight and show what Mountain Crest volleyball is all about.”
In other region action Tuesday night, the home teams were triumphant in straight sets. Green Canyon took care of Logan, 25-11, 25-12, 25-12, while Ridgeline had no trouble with Bear River, 25-5, 25-5, 25-12.
Trailing 14-12 in the fifth set, it did not look good for the Mustangs. The Bobcats had just scored three straight points to take the lead where serving for the match.
A hitting error by the hosts helped start to swing the momentum back for Mountain Crest. Crosbie had a kill to tie the set up at 14-14, then had another kill to put the Mustangs in front. There were 12 ties and six lead changes just in the fifth set.
“We just knew we had to fight,” said Crosbie, who had a match-best 21 kills while hitting .471. “We knew we had the capability to do it. We just had to go do it.”
A net violation on Mountain Crest tied the set again. Ella Douglass gave the Mustangs the lead for good, hammering home her 13th kill of the match, as she hit .400 with five blocks and two aces. A net violation left the Bobcats stunned and sent the visitors into a celebration.
“This is big for us,” Anderson said. “There have been years we were capable of beating them, but we’ve had this mental block. Tonight we broke that. Now we know we can do that.”
It was the second time this season Sky View was serving for match point against Mountain Crest, but this one hurts a little more as it counts toward the region standings.
“We’ve got to get better at finishing matches,” SV head coach Sheila Sorensen said. “We are getting there. My young team is doing pretty darn good. This region is tough, and we need to keep fighting. We’ll get there. ... This region is going to be a battle, and we just need to keep working to get better.”
Both teams had more errors than they would like. In the end, the more veteran Mustangs were able to pull it out.
“They (Mustangs) are tough and know how to end a game,” Sorensen said. “We need to get there. ... Mountain Crest is a good team with a lot of good leaders.”
Anderson felt her team came together and played as a cohesive unit. Crosbie and Douglass stood out in kills, but so many Mustangs contributed to the big win. Kaytlin Bywater had nine kills, nine digs and two aces. Kylee Atkinson had a double-double with 47 assists and a team-best 17 digs, as well as three blocks. Phoebe Starnes had 16 digs and two aces. Madi Merritt came up with eight digs and served three aces. Ashley Welker was part of three blocks. Paige Baldwin had nine digs.
Sky View also had a number of athletes come up big in the long match. Hannah Radford led the team with nine kills and three blocks. Melanie Hiatt filled up the stat sheet with a match-best 19 digs, while also coming up with eight kills, five aces and three blocks. Ella Bingham had eight kills and three blocks. Kelsey Spackman finished with 18 digs, while Aezley Young had three blocks. Brynnlee Hart had nine digs and 23 assists, while Ryen Smith had three blocks and eight assists. Koria Black had four kills, hit .375 and had two blocks.
The Bobcats certainly got the kind of start they wanted. They never trailed in the opening set and took advantage of 10 service errors by the Mustangs. Hiatt had three of her aces in the set as Sky View had five as a team.
Mountain Crest started to clean up its service game and survived eight ties and four lead changes to knot up the match. Crosbie had six kills in the second.
“We missed so many serves in the first set,” Anderson said. “We gave them half of their points. Getting that more under control was a huge thing that helped us. We just stayed super aggressive at the net.”
The third set was another wild, back-and-forth affair. Trailing 20-19, the Mustangs finished off the set with a 6-0 run. Dani Nebeker had a kill, followed by back-to-back kills by Bywater. After a hitting error by Sky View, Douglass took over with the final two kills to give Mountain Crest a 2-1 lead.
After 14 ties and nine lead changes, the Bobcats were able to even up the match by taking the fourth. Radford finished off a late surge by the hosts with back-to-back kills, sending it to a fifth set.
Then came the wild fifth set.
At North Logan, the Wolves (8-5, 1-0) got off to a good start against the Grizzlies (2-16, 0-1). Green Canyon was never really threatened in the match.
The Wolves hit .462 as a team. Seven different players had at least one ace as the team finished with 19 in the match.
“We played a solid match and stayed focused throughout,” GC head coach Maddie Larsen said. “It was a great team effort, and everyone did their part. It was good.”
Alli Anthon had 11 kills, hit .625 and served up three aces. Adi Falslev finished with 10 kills, hit .533, had three aces and a team-best 11 digs. Eden Faux led the team with four aces, while Kaylee Coats had 29 assists.
The Grizzlies were led by Allyssa Gurr with four kills and two blocks. Aliza Murray finished with two aces, two blocks and 11 digs, while Kaitlyn Leto had a team-best 15 digs.
At Millville, the Riverhawks (13-5, 1-0) joined Mustangs and Wolves atop the league standings with a convincing win against the Bears (2-11, 0-1).
“I’m super proud of the discipline the girls showed tonight,” Ridgeline head coach Jaicee Roden said. “We have a bigger purpose now. This one’s for Adee.”
Adee Swanton is a freshman on the team that was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She started treatment this week.
The Riverhawks had a balanced attack with Gracee Putnam leading the way with nine kills, while Brooklyn Bishop had seven and Mira Smullin had six. Smullin hit .667, and Bishop came in at .400. Livvy Davies served up eight aces and a team-best nine digs, while Putnam and Maylynn Ewer had eight digs each. Setter Nia Damuni recorded four aces, four kills and 26 assists.
In Idaho, Preston fell on the road at Shelley in straight sets, 25-13, 25-17, 25-15. The Indians also dropped a match against Rigby in three at the tri-match, 25-12, 25-13, 25-19.
Khloe Hobson had nine total kills on the night for Preston (1-9), while Abi Clark had seven finishers. Adree Selley had five aces against Rigby.