by Tad Barton
The San Juan volleyball team had a busy week last week. It all started off with a road trip to Castle Dale, UT on Tuesday, September 29 to take on the Emery Spartans.
The Broncos then wrapped things up at home on Friday, October 2 and Saturday the 3rd against the Manti Templars and the Gunnison Valley Bulldogs.
San Juan came out strong in the first match against Emery picking up a 25-22 win over the home team. The Spartans answered in the second, winning it by a score of 23-25.
The back and forth battle continued as the Broncos won the third match 26-24 before losing the fourth 22-25.
The fifth and final match was just as close as the first four, unfortunately for San Juan, Emery managed to eke out a 15-17 win to claim the victory three matches to two.
Bodell Nielson led the Broncos in aces with three and assists with 45, while Nani Benalie led the team in digs with 31. Jamie Meyer and Krista Grover paced the Broncos in kills with 18 and 13 respectively.
In their second game of the week, San Juan hosted Manti on Friday, October 2 and picked up their second win over the Templars of the season.
The Broncos took control early, winning the first two matches 25-13, 25-13. Manti snuck in a win in the third match by a score of 22-25, before San Juan rebounded in the fourth match, 25-19, to pick up the win.
Megan Grover’s five aces led the Broncos in that category. Nielson again led San Juan in assists with 37, while Keya Black and Krista Grover had solid games at the net, finishing with a combined 18 kills (Black with eight and Grover with 10.) Benalie once again led the Broncos in digs with 15.
The final game of the week came against the Gunnison Bulldogs on Saturday, October 3. San Juan came out firing, sweeping the Bulldogs in three matches 25-20, 25-12, 26-24.
The win improved the Broncos to 4-2 and in second place in Region 15 play, just a half game behind league leading North Sevier and a half game ahead of third place Emery.
Nielson finished the night with four aces and 32 assists to lead San Juan in those categories. Krista Grover drove home 13 kills and Benalie scooped up 15 digs to lead the way in those categories.
The Broncos next game will be against the North Sevier Wolves in Salina, Utah on Thursday, October 8. The varsity match begins at 7 p.m.
The San Juan girls’ tennis team participated in the 2A state tennis championships this past Friday, October 2.
Senior Mary Royer roared through her bracket will on a mission to defend her 1st Single state championship. She dispatched her first opponent, Maddie Hartson of Maesar Prep, by a perfect 6-0, 6-0 score.
In the semifinals, Royer was also dominating in a convincing 6-2, 6-0 victory over Tanisha Marheswaran of Waterford.
But her quest for back-to-back titles ran into Katie Foley, of Rowland Hall, who won 6-3, 6-2.
It is always impressive when a rural champion goes stroke-for-stroke with a country-club champion from a private urban school.
Freshman Jade Warren also participated at the state tournament in second singles, while seniors Hannah Brown and Jenaissa Warren were the first singles team.
Congratulations to Mary and the team and a big thank you to Coach Lyman and the rest of the girls on the team for a great season.
San Juan improved to 5-2 on the season (3-0 in region play) with a big win over North Sevier last Friday night. The Broncos steam rolled the Wolves 69-0 in the contest.
After scoring three touchdowns in both the first and second quarters, the Broncos took a 42-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the second half it was more of the same, as San Juan added two touchdowns in the third and two more in the fourth, resulting in a 69-0 victory for the Broncos.
Kavika Su’eSu’e got the scoring started for the Broncos in the first on a one-yard plunge. The PAT by Aaron Mitchell missed and San Juan led 6-0.
Nathan Nielson was the next Bronco to score when he reeled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Payton Palmer. Palmer then added the two point conversion when he took the snap and ran around the left side for the conversion.
San Juan’s last score of the first quarter came courtesy of a four-yard Bronz Eldredge run. Mitchell added the point after giving the Broncos a 21-0 lead after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, Mason Bethea got the Broncos started when he took a handoff from Palmer and scrambled nine yards to pay dirt. Once again Mitchell added the PAT and San Juan led 28-0.
After holding the Wolves to a three and out, the Broncos got the ball deep in their own territory. Two plays later Nielson notched his second touchdown of the game on an 80-yard run. Mitchell’s PAT attempt was true and San Juan’s lead grew to 35-0.
Rounding out the first half scoring was Jay McDonald who scored on a run from seven yards out; Mitchell added the PAT, and San Juan led 42-0.
Nielson got the scoring going in the second half for San Juan when he picked up his third touchdown of the night on a 15-yard pass from Palmer. Mitchell’s PAT attempt sailed through the uprights and the Broncos led 49-0.
McDonald then added his second score of the night from nine yards out, building on an already enormous Bronco lead, 56-0.
San Juan picked up their final two touchdowns in the fourth quarter courtesy of a four-yard run by Bethea and a 37-yard run from McDonald. Mitchell had his first of the two PATs blocked resulting in a final score of 69-0.
San Juan racked up an impressive 371 yards on the ground, most courtesy of Nielson, who finished with 114 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries.
Su’eSu’e just missed the century mark as he had 90 yards and a score on five carries. McDonald only carried the ball three times, but he made the most of his attempts picking up 53 yards and three touchdowns.
Bronz Eldredge was next with four carries for 38 yards and a touchdown just ahead of fellow senior Mason Bethea who rolled up 28 yards and two scores.
Payton Palmer and Baylr Eldredge both finished with 19 yards rushing, while Dylan Ivins had six yards and Landon Pemberton rounded out the ground attack with four yards.
Payton Palmer ended up going four for nine for 37 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game. Hauling in those four passes was Nielson who had two grabs and both touchdown catches. Max Slavens had the other two catches; he finished with 13 yards receiving.
Defensively the Broncos were led by Bronz Eldredge with seven tackles including two for loss. Following Eldredge were Su’eSu’e, McDonald and Jens Jones and Elliot Jones who each logged four stops.
Elliot Jones finished the game with two sacks. Brendon Pugh, Payton Palmer, Baylr Eldredge and Landon Pemberton each tallied three tackles.
Six Broncos had two tackles, including Jaxon Lee, Nielson, Shay Laws, Corbin Palmer, Reilly Myrick, Peter Shumway.
Ivins, Bethea, Keisin Tso, Connor Palmer, Adrian Bitsinnie and Avery Mitchell finished with one tackle. Other notable defensive plays included an interception by Nielson and fumble recoveries by Ivins and Baylr Eldredge.
San Juan hosts Beaver Friday, October 9, in Blanding. It is the Broncos final home game of the season and also Senior Night. Kick off is at 7 p.m.