High school volleyball review shows all teams have a chance to shine
By Matt Harris
North Sanpete has been a dominant program for years under the direction of Coach Rickie Stewart. But can this be the year they break through in the postseason?
The Lady Hawks finished with a record of 18-11, breaking a streak of 20-win seasons dating back to 2014. Frustratingly, that streak only featured one championship appearance as they lost to Morgan in 2016. North Sanpete uncharacteristically struggled near the end of the regular season last year, losing three straight matches in the Wasatch Festival. They then were ousted in the semifinals against Morgan and took fourth in state.
Coach Stewart was unavailable for comment.
Coming into the new season, the Lady Hawks are off to a great start, beating South Sevier, 3-1, with set scores of 21-25, 25-12, 25-23, and 25-23. They are set to face off on the road against rival Juab today.
Gunnison was a huge surprise last year and returns several core players. Can the Lady Bulldogs keep up the hustle?
Gunnison finished with a stunning 20-7-1 record last year, per Deseret News archives, on the heels of a six-win campaign in 2017. Part of last season, the Lady Bulldogs went undefeated through the North Sevier game and were undefeated through a 12-game stretch. It was the first time the Bulldogs had a winning season since 2013. “As a whole, our team just meshed, and they just didn’t give up,” said Coach Shanell Knudsen. “Our wins throughout the season didn’t always come easy; a lot of them came down to winning by just a few points in the fifth set, and they worked hard to get the win.”
Gunnison finished their inspiring season with a third-place finish in state after a loss in the semifinals to North Summit.
Replacing some faces after graduation, the Bulldogs still return their top offensive player, Kennedi Knudsen, who is entering only her sophomore year. Middle blocker Katelyn Cherry returns this year as a senior.
Gunnison began their season by taking down Beaver, 3-0, at home. Knudsen led the attack with 12 kills. The Lady Bulldogs next face Kanab on Sep. 10.