The Carbon High volleyball team celebrates their victory over Payson with the students after the game. Carbon High seniors Shaylie Jones (14), Amanda Freestone (18), Rachel Scoggins (1) and Darian Latimer (10) embrace together as they soaked in the moments from playing in their final home game.
What could be better than a win in their final home game of the season for the Carbon High volleyball team?
Why a sweep of league rival Payson, of course.
Carbon accomplished that goal on Tuesday night as they defeated Payson in three sets (25-23, 25-15, 25-18).
"What a way to go out for the seniors," said coach Bob Potts after the game.
It was their last home game. One last chance to play in front of the home crowd and on the court they've played on numerous times before.
And for four seniors on the team, Rachel Scoggins, Amanda Freestone, Darian Latimer and Shaylie Jones, it was the last time they would play a game on their homecourt for Carbon High.
In the first set, Carbon and Payson battled to the final point as the visiting team tied the game at 23-23. Not wanting to drop the first set of the game, Carbon came together scoring the final two points of the set, capped off by a great serve from Latimer to win the set 25-23.
With the lead in the second set, Carbon seemed to kick things into high gear. The Lady Dinos ran out to an 12-5 on an ace by Freestone. Junior Ashley Quinton added another ace for Carbon to make it 14-9. After trading points, Carbon and Payson went back and forth on a long volley that saw players from both teams dive on the court to save the point. Eventually the long volley ended with Carbon gaining the point as they used the momentum to take the second set 25-15.
In the third and final set, Carbon and Payson again played a close set with Carbon leading 14-13. They never relinquished the lead as Scoggins and Freestone mixed together kills and tip shots. With the crowd getting louder with each point, Freestone played a great final set finishing off kills and blocking Payson's shot attempts. She was responsible, or had her hand in literally, Carbon's final seven points to complete the sweep.
After the game, Freestone said the senior night game pushed her and the team to play to their best.
"I just wanted to kill that team," said Freestone, who finished with 12 kills on the night. "We focused well tonight and we tried a lot harder. Senior night was very memorable and we did very well."
Scoggins, a fellow senior, admitted to being a little nervous before her final home game. She credited the team's defense in helping the team to a region win.
"Our defense fuels our offense," Scoggins explained.
Junior Shaylie Jones led the team in assists with 19. Junior Sadey Daugherty led the Lady Dinos with 15 digs, Jones added 10, Latimer had 9 and Quinton finished with 8.
With only two region games left, Carbon has already assured themselves of a spot in the 3A state tournament. Despite the knowledge of already being in, Scoggins said the team still wants to improve before tournament play starts.
"If we play well, we'll do fine," heading into the state tournament, she said. "We just need to stay together as a team and work on finishing strong."
Potts credited his team's senior leadership for another region victory. But for this year's team heading into the state tournament, things are a little different.
Instead of being in first or second place in the region which has usually placed the team in a high seed in the tournament, Carbon finds itself playing the role of underdog.
"We've spent the last seven to eight years in first or second place," Potts said. "This will be a new role for us. Other teams might take us for granted."
Heading into a tournament in Richfield this weekend and their final two region games on the road the following week, Potts said the team will need to work on a few areas including getting to the ball more quickly and not to question themselves too much during games.
"We haven't peaked yet as a team and we need to take things one game at a time," he said. "Our confidence is good and the mentality of the girls is there, but having a little more meaness out on the court might be a good thing for us."
Carbon, 6-11 overall and 5-3 in Region 12 play, next head to Richfield for a tournament on Friday and Saturday.