Even though the Mountain View volleyball team won the 2019 state championship, Bruin senior middle blocker Julia Cavalcanti doesn’t have the best memories from the title win over Farmington.
“When we played in the finals last year, I had the worst game ever,” Cavalcanti said Friday. “I kept hitting it into the net or got tooled every time I got set. It was terrible. I look at this year as redemption for me. I want to be able to perform wherever I’m needed, whether that is front row, back row, second balls, wherever.”
For Cavalcanti’s redemption journey to be complete, Mountain View first had to find a way to defeat a good Park City squad in Friday’s 5A semifinals at Corner Canyon High School in Draper — and things didn’t look good for the Bruins early.
After dropping a 30-28 heartbreaker in Set 1, Mountain View found itself down by five points early in the second and struggling to find some rhythm.
A kill by senior Allyah Tokelau gave the Bruins the ball back and sent Cavalcanti back to serve.
What happened at that point completely changed the match, propelling Mountain View to the 3-1 (28-30, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18) win over the Miners and sending the Bruins back to the 5A championship game.
Cavalcanti had one of the most dominating serving sequences you’ll ever see, putting down a jaw-dropping five aces and keeping Park City’s offense off-balance as Mountain View put together a 10-0 run without a single Miner error.
“Julia served a bunch of points,” Bruin head coach Dave Neeley said. “Half of those points were solely hers and then on the other half they were out of system, so we got digs and transition points. From there you could kind of feel like we were where we wanted to be because now we were playing with confidence. It was awesome.”
Cavalcanti said she knew the team needed a spark in that moment.
“I knew I needed to do my part to get our team back to where we were supposed to be,” Cavalcanti said. “We had come out slow and we knew we could be better. I just wanted to put them out of system.”
She said seeing the points pile up for the Bruins was extremely satisfying.
“It felt really, really nice,” Cavalcanti said. “We work a lot on serve and pass. It was good to see that pay off in a big game like this.”
After that impressive sequence, Mountain View never trailed by more than two points for the rest of the match and generally kept the Miners from getting much momentum.
Cavalcanti was a big part of that as she tallied nine total aces as well as seven kills and four blocks. Fittingly, she was the one on the service line when the Bruins put the match away in the fourth set.
“She had an awesome match as a server, as a blocker and as an attacker,” Neeley said. “It was to the point in the third and fourth sets where we were just saying set Julia and set (sophomore middle blocker Mia Lee). They knew how good Julia and Mia are but they couldn’t stop it. It was one of those amazing moments where the other team could do whatever it wanted and what we were doing was still working.”
Lee ended up leading Mountain View with 13 kills, while sophomore Lucy Perez, sophomore Sydney White and senior Allyah Tokelau all added nine kills each.
“I thought we did really well at coming together and playing as a team,” Cavalcanti said. “We are all best friends and love playing together. Our defense picked it up and our serving and passing allowed us to run our offense. Everyone did a phenomenal job.”
Now only one step remains between the Bruins and another title. That will be a battle in Saturday’s 5A championship match against Timpview.
“The last three weeks we have been playing so well,” Neeley said. “I’m super-excited. But if we play like we’ve been playing, it won’t matter who we are playing.”
The title game is scheduled to be played at Hillcrest High School in Midvale on Saturday at 2 p.m.