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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton girls volleyball finish fifth at state

Nov 29, 2016 03:40PM ● By Kelly Cannon

After a strong finish, the Brighton High girls varsity volleyball team finished fifth at the state tournament. (Brighton High School)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights

After a strong season with only one loss, the Brighton girls volleyball finished fifth at the state tournament. The team lost a match to the eventual winner Lone Peak High School and then beat Bingham High School to secure the fifth-place spot. 

“Although we had aspirations of winning state, we had a good tournament,” said Adam Fernandez, the girls volleyball head coach. “We went three and one, and lost in the fifth to the eventual champion.”

The strong showing comes two years after a poor season where the team missed the state tournament for the first time in almost three decades.

“It was just abysmal,” Fernandez said. 

Fernandez said that last year, not only did the team have a great group of players, but there weren’t any expectations because they failed to make state the previous year. 

“All of a sudden, that group started winning and winning and ended up region champions,” Fernandez said. “The nice thing last year was there were no expectations.”

Because only two players graduated last year, this year’s team was mostly the same. However, that gave way to the expectations of being a good, strong team. 

“The toughest part this year was people expected us to be good. There were expectations for us, which is nice because we have a good program,” Fernandez said. “It’s tough because if you win, people say we’re supposed to win. If you lose, they ask what happened. Why did you lose? That’s the toughest thing.”

Last year, the team finished fourth at state. However, 16-year-old Emma Dunn felt the team could’ve done better.

“We didn’t have our middle, which is a huge factor because she’s the tallest on our team. When we were in the semifinals, we played Pleasant Grove and everybody is super tall so it’s really hard not having a middle or a backup middle,” Dunn said. “We still took fourth without her so we lost two games the last day.”

During this season, Brighton only lost one match the entire season to Bingham. 

“We won the first game. We came out with a lot of energy and with a lot of positive motivation towards each other,” said LeighAnne Taylor, a senior on the team. “The second, third and fourth game, it was kind of a letdown over time instead of making sure we were doing our best with every single individual ball.”

Despite the loss, Taylor described the season as being a really great one. 

“We’ve been working hard. We do weights Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at six in the morning. Then we do practices for about two and a half to three hours,” Taylor said “We’re working really hard and we’re making sure we’re holding each other accountable and that every ball is a good touch.”

According to Taylor, the team prepped for state by focusing on the last two weeks of practice, especially on getting better touches on the ball and making sure the players don’t let anything slide. Taylor also personally prepped for the post-season by making sure all of her homework was done ahead of time so she could focus on practice. 

The season was bittersweet for Dunn. Despite it being her junior year, she will not be playing her senior year due to wrist surgery. According to Dunn, the high school season is the only time she can have it done before playing at the collegiate level. 

“It’s kind of sad. I love high school season. It’s just so much fun. You get to be with the girls all the time. You get super, super close with all of the team. Club season is fun but high school season is just so much fun because you’re always with each other. I get so excited about high school season every year,” Dunn said. “Thinking this is the last season with these girls, playing with them, is kind of sad. You have to face it. You have to give some things.”