3 thoughts on the prep volleyball season: Northern success, stat leaders and a too-early look at 2022
Northern Utah prep volleyball teams had pretty solid postseasons. Bountiful won the 5A state crown, Morgan was the 3A runner-up and Syracuse took third place in 6A.
Region 1 and Region 5 teams found success as a whole, but also in their own ways.
In 5A, the state-champ Redhawks carried the banner to finish the season 27-3. The region also had a fourth-place finish from Woods Cross and nearly had two more teams, Northridge and Box Elder, place in the top eight.
Region 1’s success was seen in the main bracket with Syracuse but also in the one-loss brackets and consolation championships.
No. 6 Fremont finished in seventh place, beating Riverton in the one-loss bracket before losing in four sets to Skyridge in the fifth-place game.
The sixth-place championship game saw No. 17 Weber face No. 18 Farmington, the former of which beat the latter in five close sets.
The Warriors won six of their final seven matches in 2021.
In the playoffs, they swept No. 16 American Fork on the road to get to Utah Valley University and took No. 1 Copper Hills to four sets before getting bumped to the one-loss bracket.
Then, Weber beat No. 8 West Jordan, No 12 Corner Canyon and finally Farmington in what can be called “outperforming” the No. 17 seed.
In those final seven matches, outside hitter Sadie Dodson had 101 kills to finish the year with exactly 400. Against Farmington, setter Makena Barrows tallied 60 assists, which ranks fifth all-time in Utah’s single-game assists category in the state record book.
At the same time, Farmington also had a great finish to the season, going 6-4 in the final 10 matches after starting the year 4-11.
The Phoenix beat No. 15 Roy on the road in the first round of the playoffs, lost to No. 2 Syracuse, then beat No. 7 Hunter and No. 11 Clearfield in the one-loss bracket.
The Phoenix finished eighth in the tournament, also outperforming its No. 18 seed.
Several area volleyball players and teams finished in the top 10 for the whole state in certain statistical categories, according to MaxPreps.
- St. Joseph junior Katelyn Sumner led the entire state with 105 service aces. Jayhawks sophomore Halen Moon ranked fourth with 99.
- Morgan sophomore Alyvia Jaffa ranked fourth in the state with 110 total blocks (19 solo blocks and 91 block assists).
- Ogden junior Rees Bockwoldt ranked fifth in the state with 453 kills. Fremont senior Maggie Mendelson ranked 10th with 407.
- Syracuse senior Hailee Garcia ranked fourth in the state with 984 assists, Weber senior Barrows ranked seventh with 947, Bountiful junior Evalyn Chism was ninth with 912 assists and Morgan junior Timberlee Peterson ranked 10th with 879.
- Bountiful freshman Taylor Harvey ranked ninth in the state with a .363 hitting percentage (hit percentage is calculated by subtracting hitting errors from total kills, then dividing that number by total hitting attempts).
- St. Joseph finished with the most assists in the state as a team with 413. Northridge’s 303 team aces ranked ninth.
- Bountiful finished third with a .253 team hitting percentage.
- Syracuse ranked fourth in team assists with 1,103, Bountiful ranked sixth (1,097) and Northridge (1,070) ranked eighth.
- Fremont ranked fifth in total blocks with 241. Region 5 schools Woods Cross and Viewmont ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.
- Syracuse’s team totaled 1,215 kills, good for sixth. Bountiful ranked seventh with 1,199 kills, Weber was eighth with 1,195 and Fremont ranked 10th at 1,189.
A WAY-TO-EARLY LOOK AT 2022
Here’s a way-too-early look at the 2022 season, assuming every school returns all their juniors, sophomores and freshmen from this season.
Ogden’s volleyball team was barely off the court after losing in the one-loss bracket at last month’s 3A state tournament when coach Brad Hulse told the team that offseason prep started right then.
Lots of coaches say that same thing. Not many say it to a team whose roster consisted of three juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen.
The Tigers could return their whole team in 2022, including outside hitter Bockwoldt, setter Megan Aardema, whose 766 assists ranked third in 3A, and libero Olivia Blackford, whose 403 digs were fourth in 3A.
They could be much better than 16-14 next season, but Ogden still has to contend in Region 13 with Morgan. The Trojans should return setter Peterson and middle blocker Jaffa (378 kills, .284 hitting percentage, 110 blocks).
Morgan graduates some pretty impactful players, but the Trojans are consistently a 20-win team each year no matter what. Since 3A champ Union graduated some key players, the door might be open again for MHS.
Bountiful won the 5A state championship, won all 12 sets it played in the tournament and the Redhawks’ roster had players who should return.
Leading hitter Jordyn Harvey (375 kills, .267 hitting percentage) was a junior, No. 3 hitter Taylor Harvey (208 kills, .363 hitting) was a freshman and setter Chism (912 assists) was a junior.
Bountiful won’t totally run it back in 2022, but the Redhawks are probably the team to beat in Region 5 and probably the team, or at least one of the teams, to beat in 5A.
In Region 5, it’s “probably” favored for Bountiful because Northridge’s top five hitters this year were four juniors and a sophomore, so the Knights could improve from their 20-11 season, and because Woods Cross, the region’s second-place team, has shown it can reload year after year.
In 6A, Region 1 champ Syracuse graduates four-year setter Garcia and four-year outside hitter Andie Thomas.
Three-year starting libero Kambree Rodriguez should return along with the Nos. 2-4 hitters, so the Titans could be favorites to repeat as region champs, but could also struggle early with a new starting setter.
Most Region 1 teams should have anywhere from two to five of their best players returning in 2022.
Fremont’s the exception, since the Silverwolves lose Oregon-committed setter Ayva Cebollero and reclassified star senior hitter Mendelson, and FHS will start 2022 with a different head coach than it did in 2021.
Theoretically, the region could be pretty competitive across the board in ’22.
In Region 2, Roy High finished in second place with a 10-2 record, coming just short of its first region volleyball title since 1982.
The Royals were 14-9 overall, winning more games in 2021 than they did the previous 10 seasons combined, according to MaxPreps.
They may have been senior-heavy, save for junior hitter Sierra Jones, but the Royals could have a lot of excitement and energy this offseason for the first time in a long time.
In 2A, St. Joseph went 24-7 this year and won Region 17.
The Jayhawks could have most of their team returning again in ’22, as three of the top four hitters were underclassmen along with both setters, the libero and the three players who combined for 266 service aces in ’21.