|Samantha Madrid (13) knocks the ball over the net as Navajo Mountains Sonya Sloan attempts a block on the shot.|
They say that if a person will visualize a goal long enough, they will achieve it. Well the Navajo Mountain Jaguars had a long time to visualize a first round win on their way to the Utah Valley College Mackay Center on Friday morning with an 8-10 hour bus ride to get there.
They all must have thought and concentrated a good deal because the team, rated as underdogs to the East Carbon Lady Vikings came into the Utah County events center ready to win. The feisty team did it with a 15-10 and 15-6 set to send the East Carbon girls into the losers bracket.
In doing so they took away part of the dream of the girls from East Carbon who hoped to at least get into the second day of play. The other part of the dream was taken away later that afternoon when, playing in the old activity center at the college, Waterford defeated the Lady Vikes 15-4, 15-4.
"I wished we had played better," said East Carbon coach Alisa Preston on Monday afternoon. "I think the girls who will return next year have learned some lessons about competing at the state playoff level."
East Carbon's offense was good in the first game but only fair in the second. But it was their defense that lost it for them.
Navajo Mountain is one of those teams that usually is very short and tall teams take advantage of. However, they always play tough defense probably as a reaction to the fact they have few long legs that allow them to spike the ball with power. That defense includes the ability to recover from hard hits and misguided sets.
While East Carbon was not expected to be a world killer in this tournament, few expected this loss. In a division (1A) dominated by the Rich Rebels, who have won the championship so many times that they could name the trophy after the school, no one expects anyone else to go all the way. But a first round win could have led to a placement at the state level.
|Chelsey Timothy (16) and Misty Valdez (3) go up to block a Waterford shot in the second game of the state tournament for the Lady Vikings last Friday.|
The Jaguars did what they had to win. They took away the shots that had made East Carbon a winner all season long. And it worked.
When the ECH team had to play in the old activity center later in the day, they looked confident coming in, but Waterford started to take the air out of the balloon right from the beginning. Again the Lady Ravens took to playing on the defensive weakness of East Carbon.
But while the scores reflected a relatively easy game for Waterford, it wasn't that simple. The Lady Vikes fought hard and made the kids from Sandy pay for every point.
Some could see this season as a disappointment, and maybe it was to a certain extent once the team reached the state playoffs. But in reality, few thought this team would even have a winning season late last summer when tryouts and workouts began. The loss of some key seniors from last years squad, made most prognosticators think that the team would definitely finish in the second tier of Region 18.
But instead they took second place in the regular season and second in the region tournament that concluded a couple of weeks ago.
And they made it to the state tournament as well.