Timpview setter Silina Damuni gets ready to set the ball for the T-Birds in a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
The Timpview girls volleyball team celebrates a point during a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpview’s Taliah Lee (18) takes a swing against Timpanogos during a volleyball match on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
The Timpanogos bench cheers a point during a volleyball match against Timpview on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpview’s Silina Damuni (right, at net) drops the ball off the Timpanogos block during a volleyball match on Thursday, Oct, 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpview setter Silina Damuni (left) slaps hands with teammate Taliah Lee during a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
The Timpview volleyball team celebrates a point during a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.
Timpview’s Ava Napierski (10) prepares for a serve in a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daly Herald)
Timpanogos outside hitter Addy Dickson (left) swings against the Timpview block during a volleyball match on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpanogos volleyball coach Isha Takahashi watches the action in a match against Timpview on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Maddie Webb (8) and her Timpanogos teammates watch from the bench during a high school volleyball match at Timpview on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpview libero Eunice Garcia passes the ball during a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
Timpview volleyball coach Charmay Lee helps her team warm up before a match against Timpanogos on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (Darnell Dickson/Daily Herald)
As far as Silina Damuni is concerned, she’s going from one great volleyball family to another.
Damuni, a junior at Timpview and perhaps the best high school setter in the state of Utah, committed to play for Heather Olmstead and BYU a few weeks ago.
“At Timpview, we play as a family,” Damuni said on Thursday after the T-Birds swept Timpanogos for the second time in Region 8 play. “Every single girl on this team plays as one. That makes it so much easier to play with each other and that’s a huge advantage. BYU, it’s like a family, too. You go there for a visit and they make you feel like you’re part of them. I love playing on a team that feels like family. The girls are super competitive and it’s such a good program.”
Damuni said she started out playing soccer in her youth but wanted to be like her older sister, who played volleyball. Choosing BYU for her next stop was easy, considering her brother, Raider, is a Cougar football commit currently serving a church mission.
There’s that family connection again.
“BYU has always been my dream school,” Silini Damuni said. “I’ve been talking to them since I was in ninth grade. It’s good to finally officially be a Cougar.”
Damuni won’t join Olmstead’s roster until 2023 but she’s got plenty to keep her busy until then since the T-Birds will defend the Class 5A state volleyball title in two weeks. Timpview is 21-6 overall and 10-1 in Region 8 play after the win against Timpanogos.
“When we don’t play well, it’s all on us,” Damuni said. “It’s all mental. We just need to stay sharp. We have all the talent and even though we’re a younger team, we’re feisty.”
Timpview – sixth in the 5A RPI to start the week despite playing a difficult schedule – won Set 1 25-16, getting the final point on an ace from libero Eunice Garcia.
In Set 2, Timpanogos got the ball to junior outside hitter Addy Dickson and served well with aces from Dickson, Savanna Wallace and Brynn Lee to take a 16-11 lead. Timpview battled back and tied the match at 19, then took the lead at 21-19. Down the stretch, Damuni and middle hitter Brielle Rueckert connected three times for points, including the winner at 25-22.
“Brielle, oh yeah, that’s my girl,” Damuni said. “We’ve played with each other for about four years. It’s taken a lot of reps and a lot of time but it’s so fun when we get that set and she bangs it.”
Leading two sets to none, Timpview displayed its awesome potential in Set 3 by racing to a 12-0 lead behind Garcia’s service game and some powerful swings from leading hitter Taliah Lee, eventually winning the set 25-17 for the sweep.
T-Bird coach Charmay Lee said she’s grateful for the contribution Damuni makes on a daily basis.
“Silina was a big part of coming here for me as a coach,” Lee said. “Her dad (BYU Director of On-Campus Recruiting and Community/Player Relations Jack Damuni) played a big part in getting me here to coach her. She’s awesome. She’s one of the hardest workers in our gym. She sets a very high standard as far as conditioning. Nobody beats Silina. She’s very coachable and has a great attitude. Her mindset is that she always wants to get better.”
Damuni came into Thursday’s match averaging 9.2 assists per set and leading the T-Birds to a .302 team hitting percentage.
“I feel really good about my girls,” Lee said. “Defensively we’re doing a lot of things that we’ve been working on in practice. This was our Senior Night and we were trying to get our seniors as many reps as we could. I love playing Timpanogos because they always give us an aggressive match. We feel really good about going into state, for sure.”
Timpview will host Lehi next Wednesday to end the regular season. The state volleyball championships begin Nov. 2 with first round matches, followed by the second round through the finals at Utah Valley’s UCCU Center in Orem Nov. 4-6.