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Valley Journals

Skyline High boys volleyball takes second at state; Olympus among top 16

May 17, 2018 02:40PM ● By Catherine Garrett

The Skyline High boys volleyball team finished second at the UBVA state tournament May 11–12 at Corner Canyon High School. (From left to right: Coach Josh Henderson, Holland Schweitz, Keegan Hardy, Tommy Mcgrath, Andrew Clark, Scott Meaux, Connor Chytraus, Luke Romney). (Photo courtesy Josh Henderson)

By Catherine Garrett | c.garrett@mycityjournals.com

The Skyline boys volleyball team came up just short in the championship match of the Utah Boys Volleyball Association (UBVA) tournament May 11–12 at Corner Canyon High School. The Eagles, who were led by senior outside hitter Andrew Clark, senior opposite hitter Hollan Schweitz and senior outside hitter Scott Meaux, lost to Bingham in a tough three-set match 22-25, 25-22, 11-15 in the title game. 

“After playing the best in the state, taking second place is a great accomplishment,” head coach Josh Henderson said. “I’m proud of the way my team competed this weekend, especially during the championship match. 

During the 16-team tournament, Skyline defeated Pleasant Grove, Salem Hills, Northridge, Snow Canyon, Provo and Ridgeline. The only loss for the Eagles at state was in the final match to Bingham. 

Also on the 2018 squad were senior setter Connor Chytraus, senior middle blocker Keegan Hardy, senior middle blocker Tommy Mcgrath, senior outside hitter Scott Meaux and sophomore libero Luke Romney.

The Olympus boys team, who competed in the title game a year ago, and had already been battling back from an early-season shoulder injury to leading outside hitter Noah Benne, had another player — middle blocker Wilson McConkie — suffer a shoulder injury the first day of the state tournament. During pool play, the Titans lost to Weber, Corner Canyon and Springville before a second-day loss to Herriman. Olympus got on track to defeat Skyline Blue and Northridge and reach the consolation bracket final. In that match against Springville, the Titans rallied from a set down to force a three-set match but “ran out of gas at the end,” according to Olympus boys volleyball president John Larson.

“Overall though they fought hard, played through injuries and represented the school and community well,” Larson said.

McConkie, middle blocker/outside hitter Ephraim Maxfield, setter/opposite hitter Matthew Larson and setter/opposite hitter Drew Wilson all had more than 20 kills during the tournament to lead the team offensively.

Also on the 2018 squad coached by Teren Taniuchi, Matthew Smith and Ben Chamberlain were Jackson Benne, Max Calton, Nate Graham, Lincoln Hunt, Davis Johnson and Max Mottonen.

Boys volleyball has been played throughout the state the past 20 years, but the UBVA was formed just three years ago and is following the exponential growth the sport is enjoying nationwide.

“Our goal was to work together to grow boys volleyball,” UBVA president Jill Davis said. “We have been successful in bringing leadership, organization and growth to the existing boys volleyball community. We continually strive to help it be a more legitimate and formally recognized experience for the many boys here who love to play. We have seen incredible response and success since UBVA’s inception.” 

The sport has also been evolving into a year-round deal with a fall club season held and nine club options statewide for participants to choose from. The numbers continue to grow each year, which is also helping the high school spring season expand to more than 60 teams this season.

Currently, the boys sport is not sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association, but discussions with UHSAA have taken place and Davis is “hopeful our local school administrators will begin to recognize the value of it as a viable athletic option for their students.” 

Davis noted that nearly all of the 149 schools in the state have girls volleyball. “It’s obviously a very popular and welcome sport in the state,” she said. “And, anyone who has ever seen boys play at a competitive level know it is a very different and exciting game to watch, so we are hopeful the culture of boys volleyball will continue to build and become more accepted and supported by our community at large.”

“Volleyball is just a great game. It is truly a team sport, truly a mental exercise, and truly a challenge to master,” Davis said. “If you play competitively, you begin to appreciate many incredible technical nuances that are involved; for example, the slight angle of a hand will make or break a good pass, set, block or hit, which can result in either you gaining a point or giving one away. And, of course, that all has to be decided and accomplished in a fraction of a second — sometimes while you are floating in midair.”

Davis said what lies ahead for boys volleyball in the state will be determined, in large part, by UBVA’s “ability to accommodate the current growth and interest.” “We truly hope the future sees all boys high school volleyball teams in Utah enjoying a healthy presence within their own schools — whether merely using the gyms for practices and games as a club sport or as a full-fledged sanctioned sport with total school support.”

For more information on the UBVA, visit http://www.ubva.info or email ubva.info@gmail.com.