NORTH LOGAN — In a battle for third place in Region 11, it was all Wolves.
Green Canyon briefly trailed in the third set against Mountain Crest Tuesday night — the only time the home team was behind the entire night. But like the Wolves did the first two sets, they finished strong to complete the straight-set victory against the Mustangs, 25-18, 25-21, 25-19.
“I kind of feel like we have a new spark and have been doing really well,” said Kaylee Coats, the lone senior on the Green Canyon squad who had a team-leading 15 assists. “... We all just go play. Everyone on this team is awesome.”
In other region action Tuesday night, Ridgeline stayed perfect in league play with a three-set win at Logan, 25-7, 25-6, 25-16. Sky View tightened its grip on second place with a win at home against Bear River, 25-19, 25-10, 25-20.
Things went so well for the Wolves (11-8, 4-3 region) that head coach Maddie Larsen only used one timeout the whole match. That came late in the third when the Mustangs (14-11, 3-4) had rallied with five straight points.
“I didn’t realize that was the only timeout,” Larsen said with a laugh. “That would have been nice.”
While the hosts were enjoying a good night, the same can not be said for the visitors. Mountain Crest dropped its fourth straight match.
“Until the girls decide that they want to go win, it’s not going to happen,” Mustang head coach Kindra Anderson said. “They have to make that decision.”
Mountain Crest was sitting tied atop the region at 3-0 before the recent slide.
“We have worked on so many different things,” Anderson said. “I think we are ready for games and then I don’t know what happens. We struggle.”
The Mustangs were led by Kiera Crosbie with 13 kills, two aces and seven digs. Ella Douglass had four blocks and four kills, while Danica Nebeker had five kills and three blocks. Phoebe Starnes had 12 digs, while Kylee Atkinson had 23 assists.
The Wolves had a balanced attack and 11 aces as a team. Alli Anthon led the team in kills with nine, hitting .286. Eden Faux had seven kills and two aces , while Adi Falslev had six kills, four aces and 15 digs. Lydia Echols had nine digs and passed at a 2.38.
“The last few weeks we have been making some big improvements,” Larsen said. “I think they are continuing to improve both physically and mentally. We have a pretty young group this year, but now we are seeing the improvements.”
The young Wolves have been pulling together lately. Tuesday night was another example.
“We have been working really hard on improving, and it’s been really good,” Coats said. “I feel like we are doing really well right now. We’re in a good spot as state gets closer.”
Green Canyon scored the fist three points of the opening set and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. A kill by Anthon started it. An ace by Summer Hahn and then a kill by Coats gave the Wolves the early lead.
The Mustangs got within two on three occasions, but never closer. A tip kill by Paige Spackman sparked a 5-0 run by Green Canyon to end the first set. Spackman also came up with a block, while Faux recorded a kill, and Abby Blau ended it with an ace, that hit the top of the net and dropped over.
The Wolves kept the momentum going after a strong finish to the opening set. They scored the first six points of the second and never looked back. Haun, Anthon and Faux had kills, while Falslev had an ace.
Once again the Mustangs battled back and got within two. However, a 7-2 surge by the Wolves gave the hosts a 20-12 advantage. Crosbie tried to rally Mountain Crest late in the second with three straight kills and a block with teammate Ashley Welker, but it was not enough. A Faux kill ended the second.
“It’s so frustrating, because these girls are so capable,” Anderson said. “I have so much confidence in them. I know that we can compete with any team in the state. I don’t know what the issue is.”
Douglass and Nebeker teamed up for a block to start the third, giving the Mustangs their first lead of the match. There would be five ties and three lead changes in the early going of the third. A pair of aces by Falslev was part of a 5-0 run by the Wolves that got them out in front for good.
Green Canyon built a 24-14 lead on six Mountain Crest errors. Facing match point, the Mustangs reeled off five straight points, forcing Larsen to use her first and only timeout of the match. A kill by Falslev brought the contest to a close.
“It’s exciting to be playing well at this part of the season,” Larsen said. “This season has gone by fast. I think we are starting to figure some stuff out at a good time. We need to keep rolling with it. We need to fine tune a few things.”
Green Canyon faces Bear River and then goes to the Skyridge tournament this weekend.
At Logan, Ridgeline kept its perfect region season intact with a convincing win.
The Riverhawks (19-5, 7-0) had no trouble with the Grizzlies (2-23, 0-7) and recorded their eighth straight win. Ridgeline hit .493 as a team and had 10 aces.
Gracee Putnam had 15 kills to lead the team, hitting .440. Danica David also had double-digit kills with 10, hitting .750. Mira Smullin had eight kills and hit .889
Nia Damuni and Smullin each served up three aces each. David led the team with seven digs. Damuni had 28 assists.
“We had a good third set, but we could’ve done better altogether,” Logan head coach Alex Felkins said.
At Smithfield, the Bobcats kept their hopes alive of a region title. They face Ridgeline on Thursday.
“I’m happy to have our team working together and playing with purpose,” SV head coach Sheila Sorensen said.
The Bobcats (11-8, 5-2), winners of four straight, kept the Bears (4-15, 2-5) at bay throughout the match.
Melanie Hiatt led Sky View with 11 kills, hitting .240. Abigail Doxey added nine finishers.
The Bobcats had 12 aces on the night, with Hiatt and Hannah Radford each recording three each. Aezley Young had three blocks, while Doxey led the team in digs with 12. Brynlee Hart had 25 assists and nine digs.
Just over the border to the north, Preston dropped a heartbreaker to district foe Pocatello, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 13-25, 15-12.
“It was a battle,” Preston head coach Karaska Haskell said.
Preston (2-18, 0-3) was led by Khloe Hobson with nine kills. Reese Swainston, Liz Harris and Lucy Zollinger each had five kills. Adree Selley and Dru Despain each had six aces.