|Carbon volleyball coach Bruce Bean talks with players Brooke Herrick and Meesha Rasmussen during a time out at the Emery game while Julia Potts, Brittanie Gustus, and Allie Stewart listen in.|
As if it wasn't enough to face their traditional rivals on Tuesday night the Carbon High Lady Dinos had another monkey on their back that they hadn't faced in long, long time.
The fact that if they lost to Emery it would be the first time the team had back to back losses in season play in three seasons.
But the girls of Carbon rose to the occasion and made it so they weren't setting a trend by defeating Emery 3-1 in games that were at time close. In the end the scores read 25-22, 20-25, 25-15 and 25-18.
But by giving up one set to the Lady Spartans, Carbon did allow the girls from the south a leeway they haven't had in a long time either. At least for Emery volleyball, it was some taste of victory against a Carbon program that has dominated the sport for years.
This contest came after a Carbon loss last week to league leading North Sanpete. Presently, Carbon sits in second place in Region 8 with a 3-1 record behind the 3-0 Lady Hawks.
In that game last Thursday North Sanpete got by Carbon 3-2 with scores of 26-24, 26-28, 20-25, 25-19 and 7-15.
Despite the loss to North Sanpete, however, the critics up-state were still ranking Carbon the second best team in the state, behind, Carbon's old state tournament rival, Morgan. North Sanpete is not even ranked.
"I think that North Sanpete is one of the best teams in the state this year and could beat anybody," said Carbon coach Bruce Bean on Wednesday morning. "If you look at the last 10 years in 3A volleyball the teams that won or played for the state championship always included us, Morgan or North Sanpete. They have a great program there."
Bean, while not saying the loss to the Lady Hawks was an aberration admitted that it was one of those nights that his team was off just a bit and a little sloppy with their play.
"That's a tough place to play and they are very well coached" he added.
Against Emery the coach said that the Lady Spartans athleticism and height made the game tough. He also sees his team very different from last years state championship squad.
"This team, this year, doesn't have the one or two go to players that we had last year, but it is a real team, one that works together well," he said.
It just seems to be a yearly thing that Carbon is just behind Morgan in the rankings all season.
But that doesn't mean there isn't standout play by individuals.
On the night, Jamie King had 14 kills and played a very active game, showing her state playoff experience in various ways.
One concern for the team came at the end of the first game when Amie Stewart injured her ankle and sat out the second game. She, however, gutted it out and came back to play well for the rest of the contest, despite the soreness.
Danielle Martino also had a lot of touches and some blocks as well.
But every team has to have a playmaker and Bean says that showed on Tuesday night in the person of Brooke Herrick.
"Brooke's serving is tremendous and I think we would probably be fairly mediocre without her," he stated. "She is the foundation of our team."
It seems that year after year Morgan always gets the call to be on top and at the end of the season they sometimes prove that they should be there. But Carbon has often been ranked second, and proved in the championship game that they should have had that top ranking all season.
It's another interesting year in 3A volleyball, and on Thursday night it will get even more interesting for the Lady Dinos as they travel to Draper to face new Region 8 member Juan Diego on Thursday night. The Lady Soaring Eagles have always done well in the 2A ranks where they competed in years past. But with a current 2-3 overall record in 3A competition they have probably found that the larger school league is a bit tougher.