Desert Hills leads Region 9 teams into 4A state tournament

Desert Hills vs. Pine View, Volleyball St. George, UT, Sept. 12, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

OREM — The 2017 Utah State 4A Volleyball Tournament is Wednesday and Thursday at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University.

Eleven of the 16 teams in the field made the playoffs last year, though not necessarily in 4A. The only 4A returnee is Mountain View. Sky View and Lehi participated in 5A last year. Sky View enters the tournament ranked No. 1 in the state. They have an impressive record against a high strength of schedule.

The other eight schools returning all moved up from 3A in the realignment. The top returning 3A team is the Desert Hills Lady Thunder, who had their season end with a disappointing loss in the 2016  championship game against Morgan.

Desert Hills is on a roll with its only region hiccup being its earlier match against Dixie. The Thunder enter the tournament ranked third in 4A.

Below is a preview for Wednesday night’s first round and probable second round matches:

MATCH 1 – Ridgeline v Mountain View, 4:00 p.m., Ct 1

Ridgeline Riverhawks (Millville)
Coach: Denae Pruden
Overall Record: 13-8
Region 12 Record: 8-2 (2nd)
Record against the field: 4-4
Last Five: 4-1
Strength of Schedule: 7.0
2016 Result: Lost to Park City in 3A quarterfinals.
Current Ranking: 6th (Maxpreps)

Mountain View Bruins (Orem)
Coach: Jaicee Roden
Overall Record: 13-8
Region 10 Record: 9-3 (3rd)
Record against the field: 4-4
Last Five: 4-1
Strength of Schedule: 7.0
2016 Result: Lost to Corner Canyon in 4A semifinals.
Current Ranking: 8th (Maxpreps)
Nearly identical in records and strength of schedule. Most-even match of the first round. The pick is Ridgeline only because of the slightly better ranking. PICK: Ridgeline

MATCH 2 – Desert Hills v. Tooele, 4:00 p.m., Ct 2

Desert Hills Thunder (St. George)
Coach: Sharon Christensen
Overall Record: 17-10
Region 9 Record: 11-1 (1st)
Record against the field: 8-1
Last Five: 5-0
Strength of Schedule: 8.2
2016 Result: Lost to Morgan in 3A championship.
Current Ranking: 3rd (Maxpreps) 3rd (DesNews)

Tooele Buffaloes
Coach: Kristi Brown
Overall Record: 12-16
Region 11 Record: 6-6 (4th)
Record against the field: 2-6
Last Five: 2-3
Strength of Schedule: 2.3
2016 Result: Lost to Desert Hills in 3A 1st round.
Current Ranking: 16th
The Lady Buffaloes surprised everybody by making a run in the consolation bracket after losing to Desert Hills in the 1st round. The Thunder are on a roll having won their last 10. Tooele will have to be satisfied with another run in the consolation bracket. PICK: Desert Hills

MATCH 3 – Park City v. Pine View, 4:00 p.m., Ct 3

Park City Miners
Coach: Matt Carlson
Overall Record: 22-5
Region 11 Record: 12-0 (1st)
Record against the field: 10-0
Last Five: 5-0
Strength of Schedule: 3.7
2016 Result: Lost to Desert Hills in 3A semifinals.
Current Ranking: 2nd (Maxpreps) 2nd (DesNews)

Pine View Panthers (St. George)
Coach: Kelly Murdock
Overall Record: 20-11
Region 9 Record: 6-6 (4th)
Record against the field: 1-8
Last Five: 3-2
Strength of Schedule: 3.0
2016 Result: Lost to Union in 3A 1st round.
Current Ranking: 14th
On paper this looks like a straight set win for the Lady Miners. But Pine View is capable of the upset. PICK: Park City

MATCH 4 – Lehi v. Green Canyon, 4:00 p.m., Ct 4

Lehi Pioneers
Coach: Tambre Nobles
Overall Record: 20-8
Region 10 Record: 10-2 (2nd)
Record against the field: 6-4
Last Five: 4-1
Strength of Schedule: 4.4
2016 Result: Lost to Weber in 5A 1st round.
Current Ranking: 7th (Maxpreps) 4th (DesNews)

Green Canyon Wolves (North Logan)
Coach: Malayna Knowles
Overall Record: 14-13
Region 12 Record: 5-5 (3rd)
Record against the field: 3-8
Last Five: 5-0
Strength of Schedule: 5.5
2016 Result: NA
Current Ranking: 11th (Maxpreps)
Not much distance between these two teams. Green Canyon has done well for a new program. Lehi gets the nod here though. PICK: Lehi

MATCH 5 – Dixie v. Stansbury, 5:30 p.m., Ct 1

Dixie Flyers (St. George)
Coach: Stacy Leavitt
Overall Record: 20-6
Region 9 Record: 10-2 (2nd)
Record against the field: 6-3
Last Five: 5-0
Strength of Schedule: 3.1
2016 Result: Lost to Morgan in 3A quarterfinals.
Current Ranking: 4th (Maxpreps)

Stansbury Stallions (Tooele)
Coach: Erika Smith
Overall Record: 14-12
Region 11 Record: 8-4 (3rd)
Record against the field: 3-8
Last Five: 3-2
Strength of Schedule: 2.1
2016 Result: Did not make playoffs.
Current Ranking: 15th (Maxpreps)
This should be a match in straight sets. The Flyers should handle their first match with ease. PICK: Dixie

MATCH 6 – Sky View v. Uintah, 5:30 p.m., Ct 2

Sky View Bobcats (Smithfield)
Coach: Sheila Sorenson
Overall Record: 21-7
Region 12 Record: 10-0 (1st)
Record against the field: 8-2
Last Five: 3-2
Strength of Schedule: 8.3
2016 Result: Lost to Pleasant Grove in 5A semifinals.
Current Ranking: 1st (Maxpreps) 1st (DesNews)

Uintah Utes (Vernal)
Coach: Jessica Boren
Overall Record: 15-11
Region 10 Record: 5-7 (4th)
Record against the field: 2-6
Last Five: 1-4
Strength of Schedule: 7.4
2016 Result: Did not make playoffs.
Current Ranking: 9th (Maxpreps)
The Lady Bobcats should get through the first round easily. PICK: Sky View

MATCH 7 – Spanish Fork v. Mountain Crest, 5:30 p.m., Ct 3

Spanish Fork Dons
Coach: Danee Merrell
Overall Record: 23-8
Region 10 Record: 10-2 (1st)
Record against the field: 8-0
Last Five: 4-1
Strength of Schedule: 5.0
2016 Result: Did not make playoffs.
Current Ranking: 5th (Maxpreps) 5th (DesNews)

Mountain Crest Mustangs (Hyrum)
Coach: Madeline Dolny
Overall: 21-9
Region 12 Record: 5-5 (4th)
Record against the field: 1-5
Last Five: 2-3
Strength of Schedule: 0.4
2016 Result: Did not make playoffs.
Current Ranking: 10th (Maxpreps)
Similar records but clear distinction in strength of schedule. The Lady Mustangs played no tournament teams outside of their region. Spanish Fork should take this in straight sets. PICK: Spanish Fork

MATCH 8 – Juan Diego Catholic v. Snow Canyon, 5:30 p.m., Ct 4

Juan Diego Catholic Soaring Eagle (Draper)
Coach: Cristen Johnson
Overall: 16-7
Region 11 Record: 12-7 (2nd)
Record against the field: 3-3
Last Five: 4-1
Strength of Schedule: 2.3
2016 Result: Lost to Desert Hills in 3A quarterfinals.
Current Ranking: 12th (Maxpreps)

Snow Canyon Warriors (St. George)
Coach: Ryan Rarick
Overall Record: 15-14
Region 9 Record: 8-4 (3rd)
Record against the field: 4-6
Last Five: 2-3
Strength of Schedule: 4.0
2016 Result: Lost to Morgan in 3A 1st round.
Current Ranking: 13th (Maxpreps)
Closest 1st-round matchup in ranking. If Snow Canyon plays like they are capable, they win. If not, this could be a battle. PICK: Snow Canyon

Projected Second Round Matchups (Wednesday night):
CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
MATCH 9 – Ridgeline v. Desert Hills, 7:00 p.m., Ct 3
PICK: Desert Hills
MATCH 10 – Park City v. Lehi, 7:00 p.m., Ct 2
PICK: Park City
MATCH 11 – Dixie v. Sky View, 8:30 p.m., Ct 3
PICK: Sky View
MATCH 12 – Snow Canyon v. Spanish Fork, 8:30 p.m., Ct 2
PICK: Spanish Fork

CONSOLATION BRACKET
MATCH 13 – Mountain View v. Tooele, 7:00 p.m., Ct 4
PICK: Mountain View
MATCH 14 – Pine View v. Green Canyon, 7:00 p.m., Ct 1
PICK: Pine View
MATCH 15 – Stansbury v. Uintah, 8:30 p.m., Ct 4
PICK: Uintah
MATCH 16 – Mountain Crest v. Juan Diego, 8:30 p.m., Ct 1
PICK: Juan Diego

To access tournament bracket, click here.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

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