Mustang volleyball nabs place in school history
Nov 20, 2018 11:45AM
● By Greg James
By Greg James | email@example.com
As the volleyball season came to a close, Herriman High School’s team gathered for their traditional Halloween practice. The players dressed as football players, Spider-Man, a hot dog and a large Donald Trump blow-up doll and prepared for the final week. It was a week they could mark down as historical in Mustang lore.
“We have played well, and playing good opponents brings out the best in our team,” Mustang head coach Bryan Nicholson said.
The final regular season match pitted them against Copper Hills, the defending region champion. The Mustangs lost the first set but managed to take the next two before falling in the fourth to force the tie-breaker. Momentum had shifted, and they lost 15-6 in the final set to lose the match 3-2. Their effort did not go unnoticed by their coach.
“Copper Hills is a good team, and they force us to play at our best,” Nicholson said.
The match exhibited the strength of the team. The final set came down to several long rallies. Defensively, the Mustangs were able to maintain pressure to help them attack the Grizzlies.
The big hitters are often the ones sending the blasts across the net and logging points towards victory, but those front and center blasts often get their start from the back-row defense unless the Mustangs thwart the opponent right at the net. While the other team focuses on the return, the Mustangs have learned to organize themselves to be in the best position.
Senior Ellie Malovich led the team with 73 blocks. Behind her, senior Jasmyne Love and sophomore Sydnee Steel combined for nearly 600 digs.
“I think defensively we have been strong,” Nicholson said. “We got to a lot of balls that a few weeks ago we were not. We have made several adjustments, and they really adapted to that and caught on to quickly. We are heavy on seniors. It is a young group as far as experience goes.”
The Mustangs returned two starters from a year ago but had several players with varsity experience.
They finished the campaign with a 25-8 record, the most single season wins in school history. Their regular season success led to an eighth-place state finish.
At the state tournament, they lost to Bingham in the first round, defeated Cyprus and Riverton before losing to American Fork to finish their season.
Love led the team with 335 kills. The senior was also selected with Morgan Haws and Joecy Cummings to represent the Mustangs at the 6A senior All-Star game.
“Jasmyne has done it all for this year,” Nicholson said. “She is kind of our go-to player, and everyone knows it, but she still able to do a lot, and the team really gets behind her.”
Senior Hannah Freeman was named to the 6A Academic All-State team. The award recognizes student-athletes that have excelled in the classroom as well as the athletic competition. The Utah High School Activities Association considers this their most prestigious award.
“I am super proud of their these girls, and I feel we have some momentum building for our program,” Nicholson said.