Region 9 volleyball recap: Desert Hills in No. 5 spot in initial RPI rankings for 4A

Hurricane at Dixie, St. George, Utah, Sept. 10, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The season’s first statewide RPI volleyball rankings were released Friday by the Utah High School Activities Association, enabling teams to track their path to their eventual seeding in next month’s state tournament.

In the 4A classification, which includes 21 schools, Uintah currently occupies the top spot in the UHSAA’s RPI rankings, which are updated after each day when games are played.

Region 9 leader Desert Hills remains undefeated in region play with a 6-0 record. However, the Thunder went 2-3 in a tournament Friday and Saturday in St. George, falling to Pleasant Grove twice and Lehi once. Those nonregion losses thereby affected Desert Hills’ RPI ranking, which stands at No. 5.

Nipping at the Thunder’s heels are the 5-1 Snow Canyon Warriors, who won a sweep Sept. 10 at Canyon View, followed by a tough five-set win at home on Tuesday over Dixie. In that match, Dixie won the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-23, but Snow Canyon battled back to win the next three, 25-21. 25-17 and 15-8.

The Warriors were led by Katie Langford’s 21 kills and seven service aces. Last weekend, Snow Canyon traveled to the north end of the state and went 4-2 at against Cache County teams at the Ridgeline Tournament. The Warriors now have a 10-4 overall record and are currently in sixth place in the RPI rankings.

Crimson Cliffs at Pine View, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2020 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Crimson Cliffs and Dixie may have identical 4-2 records in Region 9 play, but Crimson Cliffs is No. 7 in the RPI rankings while Dixie is 11th, due to schedule strength and other factors. Like co-host Desert Hills, the Dixie Flyers also went 2-3 during last weekend’s invitational tournament in St. George.

At Desert Hills on Sept. 10, Crimson Cliffs got swept by the Thunder, although all three games were close (25-23, 25-22 and 25-23). The Mustangs bounced back from that loss to defeat the Panthers at Pine View on Tuesday night in five sets (25-11, 15-25, 20-25, 25-16 and 15-10).

In that match, Crimson Cliffs sophomores Riann Gines and Callie Finlinson accounted for 34 of the Mustangs’ 39 kills, with Gines recording 19 and Finlinson getting 15. The Panthers were led by senior Brooke Miller’s 19 kills.

Although the Panthers remain winless in region play, their last two matches have been highly competitive. Pine View also lost a tough five-set match Sept. 10 at Cedar City, as the Cedar Reds snapped a two-game losing streak in defeating the Panthers 18-25, 25-18, 23-25, 26-24 and 15-11.

Cedar also won at Hurricane this week, sweeping the Tigers on Tuesday night in three close games, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21.

Pine View at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 10, 2020 | Photo by London Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Hurricane first-year head coach Kirsti White said after the match that although the Tigers defended well and made adjustments against Cedar’s blocking, they couldn’t quite come out on top.

“We gave ourselves opportunities to win, but we’ve got to close out games,” she said, calling it a “frustrating” loss.

Libero Charlee Robinson is the only senior on Hurricane’s young roster, which includes up-and-coming freshmen outside hitters Abbigail Stout and Addison Crandall. Against Cedar, Hurricane juniors Scotland Gubler and Tylee Davis had nine kills apiece, while fellow junior Meg Carter had 18 assists and two blocks. Also contributing was sophomore McKendry Jensen, who led the Tigers with 10 digs.

Hurricane fell to 2-3 in region play with the loss and is currently sixth in the Region 9 standings and 15th in the RPI.

“We will regroup and get ready to face a good Snow Canyon team on Thursday,” White added.

After playing the region’s top two teams their past two matches, Canyon View is also hoping to regroup on Thursday as the Falcons host Pine View, with both teams looking for their first region win.

Thursday night’s full schedule is as follows, with all varsity matches scheduled to start at 7 p.m.:

  • Pine View at Canyon View.
  • Snow Canyon at Hurricane.
  • Desert Hills at Dixie.
  • Cedar at Crimson Cliffs.

Following are the current region standings, with RPI rankings included:

Region 9 volleyball standings, as of Sept. 16 (region record, overall, RPI)

  1. Desert Hills 6-0 (9-4) 5th in RPI rankings.
  2. Snow Canyon 5-1 (10-4) 6th RPI.
  3. Crimson Cliffs 4-2 (7-5) 7th RPI.
  4. Dixie 4-2 (7-6) 11th RPI.
  5. Cedar 3-3 (8-6) 12th RPI.
  6. Hurricane 2-4 (6-8) 15th RPI.
  7. Canyon View 0-6 (3-7) 18th RPI.
  8. Pine View 0-6 (1-12) 19th RPI.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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