Carbon VB takes second for the second year in a row
To make it to the volleyball state championship finals two years in a row is a feat that only a small handful of teams can say. Carbon did it this year. But the results ended up bitter-sweet as they fell short of their goal to take the title.
As with last season, the Carbon Lady Dinos volleyball team took second place. This year it was Hurricane that walked away with the championship in a three game 25-23, 25-21, 25,11 sweep over the Dinos. Until that deciding match, both teams had made it through the rest of the tournament without losing a single set in any match.
The Dinos trip to the finals began Thursday afternoon against Uintah. They breezed through the first two games 25-8, 25-7. Then they eased up a bit and the set went 25-23 for the win. Britni Greenwood had 16 kills and 10 digs in the game while Joy Malone had four blocks and nine kills. Brittany Gustas had 13 digs and Julia Potts dished out 27 set assists.
Later on Thursday they met up with Logan and sailed through the match 25-10, 25-12, and 25-16 to move into the semi finals on Friday. Greenwood had 17 k's and 15 digs. Gustas had 21 digs, Cherelle Julia served up four aces to assist with the easy win.
Delta was their next opponent. The Rabbits had pulled off a first round upset to take out Park City and had taken the Dinos to the mat before losing the last time they met. Carbon geared up for a tough match. Delta came out blasting and took an early lead in game one before the Dinos regrouped and put them away in three. The final score was 25-21, 25-20, 25-20. Potts put up 36 set assists and Greenwood had 18 kills. Julian scooped up 11 defensive digs and Malone added 15 kills in the win.
In the court next to their game, the Morgan-Hurricane match was getting underway. Morgan had sat on top of the standings from day one and expected to be in the finals again this year as reigning state champs. They had almost lost in the last round to Juan Diego and had pulled out a comeback victory to face Hurricane. The Dinos watched from the stands as Hurricane downed Morgan in three to join Carbon in the championship game.
As game time approached, the giddiness from getting to the finals gave way to the task at hand. Confidence exuded from both sides of the net, each team knowing second wasn't good enough. Coach Cristin Johnson focused on watching her team warm up said, "They want it bad. Now may the best team win."
As the game got underway neither team could get a serve in, but it was Hurricane who settled down first and suddenly Carbon had their backs against the wall. Hurricane, fresh from knocking off Morgan, now sensed they could beat anyone and began pounding the ball past the Dinos. The Dinos appeared a bit off their game, but still managed to make it a close set, losing 25-23.
Game two was similar as the Dinos again fell behind. They made another last ditch run, but service errors in critical moments turned over the ball and points to Hurricane who needed no help from the Dinos to put up points. Hurricane over Carbon 25-21.
Game three was all Hurricane as Carbon had no answer to the team that knew victory was at hand. Even in the face of defeat, Carbon played hard to the end with dignity and style. But the final was 25-11 in favor of Hurricane.
The pain of falling short was written all over the faces of the team and the coaches as the final Dino serve was long and the game was over. Where last year they had pulled just short of the implausible, this year their expectations were never to walk away with second. The huge crowd of Dinos supporters and student body swarmed the court and surrounded the team to support them as the crushing blow of emotions overwhelmed the players.
Coach Johnson held back her tears as she explained that to be this close was disappointing. "To end this way, this was not our regular team out there tonight. But I am proud of the team even if they did not win it all. I am proud of them," then emotion over took her and she could say no more.
Senior Julia Potts wasn't able to express much except, "I just don't know how hard it will be to get over this, two years in a row...." and then shook her head and closed her eyes.
Senior Britni Greenwood was also feeling the pain of the loss as she took a moment to gather herself, "I'm just disappointed because I know we can do better, but it was a great season and that's all I can say."
The parents and friends did what they could to soothe the hurt for just a moment as the music overhead played "We are the Champions," for Hurricane as they celebated in the other court.
For six of the Dinos, this was their last chance as seniors. That is why falling short this year was much more devastating than last season.
For Johnson, next year's squad will have a new look, with the exception of Malone, Alexis Oliver and Tia Pappas, as they are the only ones left who have seen much court time this year. And for the team a new region and new rivals to face.
In the end this year's team can hold their heads up high and know the community is proud of the accomplishments of these fine young ladies as they move to the next phase of their lives. They can consider themselves among the 3A volleyball elite.