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Boys volleyball playoffs: Syracuse finishes promising inaugural season in 4th place

By DARNELL DICKSON - Daily Herald | May 18, 2024
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Davis Caldwell of Syracuse, center, rises up for an attack during a 6A boys volleyball state semifinals match against Pleasant Grove on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
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Syracuse's Gabe Meredith (25) attacks the ball during a 6A boys volleyball state semifinals match against Pleasant Grove on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the UCCU Center in Orem.
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Caleb Roskelley of Syracuse, left, sets the ball for teammate Gabe Meredith during a 6A boys volleyball state semifinals match against Pleasant Grove on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the UCCU Center in Orem.

OREM — After dropping its 6A boys volleyball semifinals match to Pleasant Grove, No. 7 Syracuse still had another match to play.

It’s often difficult for teams to invest emotionally in a consolation-round match, and the Titans had their struggles in the third/fourth-place match with No. 9 Skyridge on Saturday at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center.

After recovering from a first-set setback with a win in the second set, Syracuse fell behind 5-0 and then 13-5 in Set 3. The Titans somehow found some reserve energy and battled back into the match, but eventually lost 25-19, 21-25, 25-23.

“We talked a lot about just minimizing our errors,” Syracuse coach Corrie Vigil said. “We made a lot of errors. On Thursday, we missed a total of two serves. And today we missed nine. So those kinds of things. And once we started to stay focused on that and minimize our errors, we were in it. We were right there. So that was the struggle. It’s rough mentally to come back and play this match.”

A kill from Josh Godfrey brought Syracuse back from that eight-point deficit to within two, 21-19, in the third set and a Davis Caldwell attack evened the score at 23-all. Syracuse thought it reached match point when a net violation was called on Skyridge but, after the officials consulted with each other, they ruled to replay the point.

The Titans missed their next serve and committed a hitting error as the Falcons took the 2-1 victory for third place.

Caldwell totaled nine kills, and Godfrey and Chase Barrett had eight.

In the semifinals, Syracuse battled with No. 3 Pleasant Grove before falling in four sets (25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23). The Vikings’ service pressure and big hitters kept the Titans from gaining momentum in the first two sets.

In Set 3, Syracuse surged ahead late behind Barrett. The sophomore contributed a kill and back-to-back service aces to push his team into the lead at 24-22. At second set point, Davis Caldwell punched an attack through the Pleasant Grove block for a 25-23 win to force a fourth set.

Set 4 was tied at 18-all before Pleasant Grove forged a three-point lead at 21-18. Syracuse cut the deficit to 24-23 but a kill from the Vikings’ Weston Johanson ended it at 25-23.

“We’re not very big, as you can see,” Vigil said. “Most teams outsize us so we really trained our defense hard all season and that’s kind of what kept us in matches. Because we don’t have the size, there were times Pleasant Grove overpowered us.”

Caldwell led with 14 kills and Gabe Meredith had 12. Branson Hamblin totaled 20 digs and Caleb Roskelley 35 assists.

Syracuse (23-9) earned fourth place in the first-ever 6A boys volleyball tournament after an undefeated Region 1 championship.

“They started pretty rough, I’m not gonna lie,” Vigil said. “I just didn’t know what to expect because this is the first year and so for me, it’s a lot about unknowns. So that was pretty scary. But as the season went on, these kids worked really hard. So I’m super proud of them for how far we’ve come. It was fun to see these boys finally have this for high school volleyball. I think it’s just going to take off.”

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