The tournament presented one last shot for the team. The Carbon scream team did what they could to rally against Juan Diego.
Darian Latimer (foreground) dives as Kacylia Ivory stays ready.
It was an unusually short visit to the Utah state volleyball tournament for the girls from Carbon. As a number one region seed and the other top ranked teams in the state starting in the other bracket, things looked rosy for Carbon to go deep again.
But then reality struck. The Lady Dinos had first round opponent, Grantsville, on the ropes with two solid wins. Carbon gave the Cowgirls an opening in set three and they took it to the bank with a five set win over the Dinos. Carbon went down to defeat 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 22-25 and 15-17.
Juan Diego lost their first round game in five as well. Both teams were in a must win situation. The Lady Dinos played hard, but seemed to lack cohesion as a team and lost in a sweep to the Soaring Eagles, 16-25, 17-25, 21-25.
Coach Bob Potts said that the first two games of the tournament against Grantsville had the Lady Dinos looking sharp. They were passing and setting well. But by game three, the momentum shifted and the Dinos committed 15 unforced errors to let the game slip away. They had the lead until the final few points.
Potts called a time out with a Carbon lead. The Dinos usually come through on a time out and score, but this time they failed to clutch the final moments of the game and the Cowgirls stole the win.
Still battling hard, Carbon stayed close. But the young team struggled with their nerves and again committed 14 unforced errors. Now the match was tied at two. In the final game, it again stayed close. But five receiving errors from Carbon helped the Cowboys steal the show.
Joy Malone had 29 kills in the match, almost six a game. Shaylee Donathan dished out 25 set assists. Alexis Oliver handed out 16 and added 10 defensive digs. Maraih Pollock scrambled for 25 defensive digs and Kacylia Ivory had 20 in the losing cause.
Carbon played Juan Diego in a winner move on, loser go home match at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Dinos never found their rhythm in the match.
However, there were flashes of Carbon excellence from many of the players on the court, but the team chemistry never really clicked. In game one and two, the Dinos were down most of the sets. In set three Carbon led most of the way. But at 19, the Soaring Eagles tied it up and took it home to secure another day for themselves in the tournament.
In the final game of their season, Malone sent over 12 kills and had nine defensive digs as she gave it her all to keep the team in the tournament. Sam Olsen had six digs and Pollock had five. Malone cried as she hugged team mates and friends after it was over.
"Losing is hard, but the worst part is realizing it is over," she said, referring to her playing days as a Dino volleyball player. She was part of both of the previous teams that made it to the championship round only to fall a little short of the title. Her sights are set on basketball and hoping this will be a state title year for that team.
For Coach Potts, it was disappointing to bow out this way. He felt like his team played hard all year, but they just didn't have the team magic it takes to go all the way. Potts saw some good effort out of many individual players, but as a team they seemed out of sync in both matches and that hurt them. He had hoped that his young squad could go deeper. Potts is already looking ahead to next season. He played many of his younger players in game two of the Juan Diego match and was really excited to watch them step up and compete on every play.