In the Battle of the Falcons, the Skyridge Falcons bettered the Clearfield Falcons 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-12, 25-19) in the first round of the 6A volleyball tournament Tuesday night.
With the new RPI seeding and all-comers state tournament, Skyridge, as the 11th seed, hosted Clearfield the No. 22 seed in a one-and-done match with the winner advancing to the Round of 16 to be held at Utah Valley University on Thursday.
Skyridge placed fifth in Region 4 so head coach Deanna Meyer was happy that her program had a chance to make the 16-team field because in the old playoff format, her Falcon team would not have had a chance to compete.
Westlake also won its opening round match, so much like football, Region 4 was 6-for-6 in getting their teams to the Round of 16.
“As far as the RPI goes, I’m grateful that it gives us the opportunity, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone (to the state tournament),” said Meyer. “I think we’re better than other regions’ third and fourth place teams, but we’ll see. We need to put our money where our mouth is. So I’ll take the RPI with all of its flaws.”
Meyer still sees some issues with the RPI in regards to the actual seeding of the teams. Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak are seeded third and fourth respectively, though the two teams have dominated large-school volleyball this decade and played for the last three state championships in the state’s largest classification.
“I think going out-of-state hurt us and PG and Lone Peak (with our seeding). I think, in volleyball more so than other sports, when you go out of state and play nationally ranked teams, this needs to be taken into account, not just what your record is.”
Skyridge suffered from a slow start in its match with Clearfield, both in dropping the first set but in three of the four games falling behind as much as four points.
“I think we have some young kids and you could tell we were a little tight,” said Meyer who was also impressed with the effort of the opposing team.
“They were a very respectable opponent. Their kids played tough. It was a healthy match with some good intensity,” Meyer added.
Serving was a big part of the Skyridge Falcon success as the team notched 16 aces, seven of which came from Rose Moore. Lexi Greenwood had four aces while Chelsea Greenwood and Emma Meyer had three aces.”
Moore had a great all-around game as the sophomore had a team-leading nine kills and 19 digs. Lexi Greenwood also shined defensively with 18 digs.
Setter Kate Jensen quarterbacked the offense with 21 assists. Annie Taylor also posted seven kills for the home team and Caitlin Rupp had five blocks.
Clearfield was led by Shaylee Stanger, Missy Mortensen and middle blocker Missy Mortensen who got the attention of Meyer.
“Clearfield’s middles did a great job. They were killing us all night long.
However, Meyer felt that Skyridge’s strong serving was able to take Clearfield out of system enough and contain their big hitters.
“We started managing our serve a lot better. That’s how we contained their middles.”