ST. GEORGE — Somebody cue up the Bachman-Turner Overdrive, ’cause the Desert Hills volleyball team was Takin’ Care of Business Tuesday night.
The Lady Thunder crushed Hurricane in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-16) and clinched their second straight Region 9 title in the process. The defending state champions only lost one game and no matches the entire league season and will go into the 2013 state tournament as the top seed from the region.
“We went into tonight’s match knowing that Hurricane was going to come into it with some intensity,” DH coach Jill Swaney said. “We’re the only team that had beaten them in region and they’ve been firing on all cylinders, but we were prepared for that. We like to think of it as taking the emotion out of the match and just taking care of business.”
Blair Bliss had 12 kills and Sammy Loe had 17 digs to lead the way, plus Courtney Sheerhan had a perfect hitting night as the Thunder improved to 17-3 overall and 11-0 in region. But even with the outstanding individual numbers, Swaney said it was the team concept that has made Desert Hills such a force to be reckoned with.
“My team is a real team,” she said. “They share the spotlight, celebrate each others’ successes and play well together. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Hurricane or Horizon Elementary, if you can’t control your side of the net, can’t beat anybody.”
Desert Hills has one match left after a bye Thursday night, then it’s on to the state tournament. Although the Thunder were the region champs last year, many volleyball fans looked at them as the underdogs to mighty Snow Canyon, which had consecutive state championships from 2006-2010. But Desert Hills prevailed over the Warriors in the championship match a year ago. Now the Thunder are the ones with the great expectations.
“For me, it doesn’t change the way I look at things,” Swaney said. “But it does bring in a little pressure. We have the target on our backs now. I liked being the underdog better. But in the end, it’s a game. We’ll give it our best and if we come up short, at least we’ll know we gave it our all.”
Along with the defending-champion Thunder, Region 9 will be represented by second-seeded Hurricane, No. 3-Snow Canyon (which defeated Dixie 25-17, 25-15, 25-19 Tuesday night) and fourth-seeded Dixie. Swaney said Region 9 should fare well at state, which is Nov. 1-2 at Utah Valley University. She said she also expects Morgan (2011 champ) and Tooele to contend.
“Hurricane should do well,” she said. “Skill-wise, they’re very good and they’re well-coached. Snow Canyon has really come on strong, too, especially defensively.”
The Warriors are the only team to win a set off of Desert Hills in region play, though Hurricane took one of the Thunder in a non-league tournament. Snow Canyon took a game off of DH last Thursday, but still lost the match in four games, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25.
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