PLAIN CITY -- Region 1 champion? Check.
State 5-A volleyball champion? Check back on Saturday.
It isn't the ideal first-round matchup -- Lone Peak has nine state championship-match appearances since 2003 with five state titles -- but league champion Fremont is playing the cards dealt to itself today when the 5-A tournament begins its two-day run at Utah Valley University.
"It's going to be tough. Lone Peak is not the first-round match you would like," said third-year Fremont coach Brock Mitchell. "Region 4 was a good league, anybody one to four would have been a challenge. We feel like we have a team that can win. It will take our best match."
The Silver Wolves (24-6 overall) swept their first Region 1 volleyball title since 2006 when they shared the league title with Northridge.
"I told my wife (Alicia) I would like to win a league title and compete for a state title by year three. It was my personal goal," Mitchell said. "The girls piggybacked me by keeping their end of the deal, which was pretty neat.
"This is the most well-rounded team in my three years with better athletes all-around," he said. "You can control what you can control, but not things like team-altering points. A team like Lone Peak will not lose the match for itself.
"We have a new goal this week. Make a run to the semifinals, that's the four best teams," Mitchell said. "At that point, it's up for grabs."
After an off day Friday, the 5-A finals are Saturday in Orem's Utah Community Credit Union Center.
"We'll put a solid game plan together, and hopefully, advance one match at a time. One loss and your season is over," Mitchell said.
Of the 16-team state 5-A tournament field, Fremont beat Davis (9-19) three times, beat Hunter, split with Layton (21-7), beat Riverton twice, beat Taylorsville twice, lost to Lehi and was 2-2 versus Northridge (21-8).
"This team is resilient. We've had matches where we've rallied and pulled them out," Mitchell said. "We figured out how to finish since the Northridge tournament."
The northern Knights defeated Fremont 27-25, 20-25, 17-16 (set 3 had a 17-point cap) in the Aug. 31 championship match of the eight-team Round Table Rumble at the 'Ridge.
"The girls have been willing to work and learn since then. Those (two) losses to Northridge fueled their fire," Mitchell said. "I think after the second Northridge loss we got a little sidetracked. We had to sit down and reassess our goals."
As far as Fremont's tournament strategy, it's just executing fundamentals.
"We're going to have to pass well," Mitchell said. "Offensively, we're diverse. We have good hitters all the way around. Blocking and digging, we're going to have to play well.
"The girls know what is at stake," he said. "This is a special group, and I expect nothing less than their best Thursday. I'm OK with our draw, if we play like we're capable of playing. We knew we had to finish first to give ourselves that opportunity."
The Silver Wolves were swept by Bingham on the final day, finishing seventh at the 2012 5-A tournament.
"We put the loss to Bingham behind us and were looking toward the new season," said Fremont senior right-side hitter Jessica Quayle. "I feel like we've done a lot in practice to get us ready for Lone Peak.
"I love the girls on our team. We've all played club (volleyball) and we're friends at school. We can trust each other and we get along really well.
"We have the talent to win, but if we don't work hard and stay focused that will corrupt us more than anything," she said. "We have been practicing our passing and serve-receive so that we can pass Lone Peak's serves."
The southern Knights, last year's state 5-A runners-up, swept Fremont in the second round a year ago.
"We're out for revenge this year, but they're good," Quayle said. "We want this for ourselves. We've worked hard; we think we deserve it.
"My role is to make sure I'm a contributor on both offense and defense. I need to keep everyone motivated and keep their heads up. If someone gets down, I'll remind them 'It's just one point, keep your head up and get over it.' "
Quayle says the Silver Wolves respect each team and will not overlook anybody.
"We've set our goals high; we'll take it match by match. Beat Lone Peak and then whoever is there. Each team is amazing," she said.
A potential Saturday semifinal match looms against defending 5-A champion Pleasant Grove.
"I think we can win the whole thing. We have prepared, we have talent all-around and great coaches," Quayle said. "We have put in the time during the season and offseason. If we pass (the ball), play defense and play as a team, we'll do well.
"We're going to peak this weekend; we haven't peaked yet," she said. "We're going to take off and do things we haven't done before. Teams have seen glimpses of what we can do, but we have more to show."
Winning the Region 1 title was not Fremont's endgame.
"It feels amazing to win region," Quayle said. "It was a big accomplishment, and now we're one step closer to our goal of winning state.
"I knew we were going to be good this year and the league would be good competition," she said. "We've had good, hard practices this week. We're used to the (UCCU Center) environment, so that won't be a problem. Holding that first-place trophy on Saturday will be the ultimate rush."
Bonneville (16-14) secured Region 5's No. 2 seed with a season sweep of Mountain Crest (21-10). League champion Sky View (23-4-2) is also the defending state 4-A champion.
Box Elder, a No. 4 seed, is 14-12-1. Clearfield (18-13), also a No. 4 seed, is making its first state tournament appearance since its 2003 5-A runner-up finish.
Contact reporter Dennis Larsen at 801-625-4264, firstname.lastname@example.org.