Broncos claim another volleyball title
Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar; San Juan Broncos win another state 2A volleyball title!
It does and it should as head coach Cassy Moon led her team once again back to their accustomed position at the top of the 2A volleyball ranks.
Led by stalwarts senior Kelsi Meyer, junior Simone Shumway and sophomore Brooke Lyman, the Lady Broncos rushed through the 2A field in impressive fashion, dropping only two sets.
Starting against the Lady Cowboys from Kanab, the Lady Broncos shook off first match jitters and routed the Cowboys 3-1. Then they whitewashed both the Summits, North and South, 3-0, before besting the Enterprise Wolves in the final, 3-1.
The Broncos came in a little under the radar, ranked third behind Waterford and Enterprise, but didn’t let that deter them from their goal. It was the 11th title in 15 years for the dominant Bronco program, but the first since 2007. The state championship is Coach Moon’s seventh.
Said Moon, “Our girls have been so fun this year. They were very coach-able and responded well to some simple changes we made. We added an extra hour to practice this season, going three instead of two. The girls were there every day and I never heard one of them complain about being in the gym and working so hard.
“I don’t think it’s me doing anything as these girls wanted to win and were hungry. I was impressed from their dedication during June as most of them spent 1 1/2 hours five days per week going over and improving basic skills.
“Thinking back, my coaches and I couldn’t remember any bad practices this season. That is an amazing feat for young ladies with so many other stresses in their lives.
“They maintained their focus the entire season. The girls found ways to compete and joke with each other, which allowed them to feel it was okay to ‘go for the throat’ in practice without hurting pride. (Light trash talk can be funny and motivating.)
“That attitude carried over into matches and we watched them mentally mature and the look in their eyes and the swagger in their walk was evidence of their purpose this year. In fact, when we were down so far in set three of the championship match, and in the final timeout we had, I looked at their faces and knew even if we didn’t win that set, we would win the match.
“There was no quit in any of them. Of course, some people have said we were lucky to have played so well on Enterprise’s miscues during that set, but I believe you make your own luck. These girls did that when they started working back in June.
“That moment of luck came at just the right time and then their determination helped them grit their teeth and finally beat Enterprise in set 4.
“I feel I need to thank a bunch of people. I will start with the girls themselves. They made this season what it was. They listened and tried and perfected every day.
“When we got to the matches against North Summit and South Summit, we didn’t really need to coach them. They stayed with the game plan. They are an amazing bunch of girls. I need to thank the parents of these girls for taking care of all of the extras in order to make the season run smoothly and make each girl feel special.
“I need to thank my coaches and their families for sacrificing so much time to help these girls. Wendy Meyer worked longer hours at work in order to be at practice and every game. She is so good to have on any staff and I especially appreciated observations and support. She will be taking some time off from volleyball until her son, a sophomore, graduates from high school.
“Kelli Christensen also deserves a big thanks. She came home to prepare to go on a mission and allowed us to talk her into coaching until she leaves this month. The girls love her, as well as her great attitude and calm ways.
“I need to thank my husband and children for their support and love during the craziest three months of the year. They still love me after the stress I have put them through.
“I also think that every young woman who has played volleyball at San Juan High deserves a thanks. They paved the way for these ladies to enjoy this moment by improving the game and showing those little girls watching that it is possible to be something more than ever thought possible.
“I have coached 12 years of those girls and I have loved every small or great success they have had. I hope that younger girls were watching this bunch of girls and will also realize how important it is to involve themselves with great individuals.
“Where do we go from here? I hope to take a really long nap on Saturday, so Disneyland is out of the question. The girls are already talking about next year. I found myself awake at 6 a.m. Sunday, thinking about next year and where we go from here. I guess the answer is we will be in the gym again next spring and summer. There will be a lot to do to be ready for next season.”
Coach Tony Esplin’s Buckaroo charges made short work of three of their four opponents, but couldn’t quite get past that fourth one, the Lady Rebels from Rich to nonetheless capture fifth place in the 1A state volleyball tournament.
After smoking Bryce Valley, 25-7, 25-15, 25-11 in the opening round, the Lady Bucks looked poised to beat the Rebels in the quarterfinals, but fell in four remarkable sets, 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22 to fall out of title contention.
But undaunted, the Lady Buckaroos, with Swayzi Slade leading the way, pounded Altamont, 25-11, 25-12, 25-18 and Monument Valley 25-14, 25-15, 25-12 to finish the season positively.
The Broncos won their 28th home playoff game in history Friday, against two losses, by besting the Kanab Cowboys 47-14.
The Broncos finally put the hard ridin’ Cowboys away after the Cowboys closed to within 21-14 with 6:33 in the third quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass, becoming the first team all year to score twice on the Broncos.
But two plays after the ensuing kickoff, senior QB Cameron Shumway tossed a long bomb to senior running back Stetler Shumway, who made a great catch, shook off the Cowboy defender and raced 80 yards to the touchdown. That seemed to finally buck off the Cowboys.
For good measure, the Broncos scored on their next three possessions as well, a two-yard Stetler dive, a 21-yard Ryan Lyman dash, and a duplicated 51-yard dash by Kevin Arthur. Arthur, one play earlier, had scored on the exact same play, only to see it called back on a holding call. So, he did it again, in nearly identical fashion, to put the Broncos up convincingly 47-14.
Cameron Shumway guided a balanced Bronco offensive attack to 234 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. Shumway was 11-of-18 passing with two touchdown passes. He also ran for a TD on a one-yard keeper.
Ryan Lyman did plenty of offensive work too, with 143 yards rushing and two TDs, along with two catches for 53 yards and another touchdown. Stetler Shumway added 47 yards rushing and Colby Redd carried for 53 more in a dominating performance by the offense.
The Broncos grabbed their tenth win of the season and 18th in a row. Next up for the Broncos, the South Sevier Rams, who upset Enterprise in a baseball score 6-2 in their quarterfinal match.
The Rams are a team who may have found themselves the last two weeks. Entering the playoffs at a gloomy 1-8 on the season, the Rams beat North Summit in two overtimes before disappointing the Wolves of Enterprise. Game time is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pleasant Grove High School.
On your way home, catch Coach Lee Chadwick and the Monticello Buckaroos in a rematch against Rich High School at Snow College in Ephraim at 2 p.m.