Whitehorse volleyball closes out season

The 2021 Whitehorse volleyball team was “thankful to be back on the court playing a sport we love,” according to first-year head coach Joni Dickson. She directed the team to a 4-11 record this season.

Three of the Raider four wins came in the last eight games of the year, including a four-set win over Tintic in a 1A state play-in match on the road October 23.

Whitehorse then traveled to the 2021 1A Utah State Volleyball Tournament in Orem.

Entering the tourney, Tintic was the #15 team in 1A, so it was an upset for the #18 Raiders to win, especially on the road. They drew a tough game in the first match at UVU – #2 Panguitch.

Though Whitehorse battled hard, the Bobcats were a handful, and they dropped the Raiders in straight sets 25-4, 25-7, and 25-7.

The loss set the girls up for a third matchup with their rival, #10 Monument Valley, who lost to Tabiona in the second round. So there was one final Battle of the Drum in the 1A 6th-place quarterfinals.

The Cougars had the edge, and like the previous two meetings they dominated, ending Whitehorse’s season in straight sets, 25-13, 25-12, and 25-13.

The Drum remains in Monument Valley for now, but it’ll be contested again when the Raiders and Cougars meet on the basketball court.

Following the tough losses and the conclusion of the season, Coach Dickson expressed several thoughts:

“This season our seniors led by example and worked their hardest during their last year of high school volleyball.

“McKeeda Sam was our speaking captain throughout the season and she held that position with a positive attitude and always uplifted her team during triumph and difficulties.

“Shaundiin Tenorio did an amazing job moving on the court and was always determined to go after each ball to keep it in play. She amazed us throughout the season with great ball-saving plays.

“Kailee Tohonnie was a staple to our offensive attack. She hit the ball hard, but she was also smart in placing the ball with tips.

“Junior Shelby Vasku did an excellent job blocking and played a big role in our defense. Each player did an amazing job filling in different positions when we needed them.

“The biggest adversity we faced this season was a lack of experience for our young team. People do not realize that we took a team to the state tournament with only two players who had any previous tournament experience.

“The rest had to adjust from middle school volleyball straight to varsity high school volleyball (due to the COVID shutdown). Middle school straight to varsity experience is a big leap and each player should be proud to have accomplished that obstacle.

“The state tournament was what we expected: challenging, emotional, and loud. Our motto for the week was ‘Nothing to lose, but something to prove.’

“That was because we came back to the state tournament with a very young team (first-year coach included) and we fought our way to be there. We came home with drive and determination to return next year with confidence.

“On behalf of the coaching staff, I formally commend each player’s efforts, willingness to learn, and quick maturation to become the team we took to the state tournament.

“Regardless of how we did at the tournament or our season, we are very proud of how hard these ladies worked and improved.

“They each have amazing strengths that contributed to the team growth. The biggest reward we received out of this season is creating lifelong friendships.”

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