The Grand County High School (GCHS) volleyball season came to a close on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the UHSAA 2A state tournament — with the Lady Devils finishing competition for the year with a 6th place finish overall.
The girls were already working at a disadvantage, having lost senior Jade Meyer to a brutal knee injury before the tournament. The team had to adjust its game plan accordingly, and several underclassmen were asked to step up and fill starting roles by head coach Brittney Melton.
The first match for GCHS was against Delta, and it was an all-out battle: The Lady Devils came out strong, beating Delta in the first set 25-19. In the second set, they overcame a 17-23 deficit and won the set, 26-24. Junior Corteney Noyes had an outstanding performance, serving 7 points.
“Corteney is our most tenured player and is such a competitor,” Melton said. “This helped build our confidence for the remainder of the tournament.”
Despite the brilliant effort from Noyes and the girls, they lost the next three consecutive sets to Delta, 14-25, 13-25 and 8-15. The Lady Devils were already off to a bad start, and according to Melton, they knew they needed to make some changes in order to stay in the tournament.
“We had a tough talk in the locker room about not giving up and how to handle plan B. In the state tournament you lose two games you are out ... also, it is not a true double elimination so you just have to push from the beginning to win. So, we set our goal to not lose another game the rest of the tournament. And we did just that.”
Next, the Lady Devils faced off against Carbon County, beating them in three of four sets: 25-18, 25-21, 20-25 and 25-15. With only seven attempts, Kaylin Watson racked up two blocks and five kills in their matchup with the Lady Dinos. Grand County then moved on to face Maeser Prep Academy the following day.
The Lady Devils blasted Maeser Prep, beating them in all three sets: 25-22, 25-14 and 25-19. Jaci Shumway had a stellar performance against Prep, tallying eight aces in the match and 13 in the tournament altogether. Coach Melton said she was highly impressed with Shumway’s performance.
“We served them tough ... Jaci is a tough player and runs the floor as our setter and captain,” Melton said. “She is able to see the court well and strategizes on who to set based on the match up of the blocker on the other side of the net. She will be a vital part of this team next year as well.”
The Lady Devils then moved on to face region rival South Sevier for the No. 6 and No. 8 spots overall — with Grand taking the first set, 25-18. South Sevier bounced back and won the second set, 25-16, but it would not be enough as the Lady Devils won the next two to secure the victory, posting scores of 29-27 and 25-19.
All in all, Melton said she is very proud of her team and staff this season.
”Red Devil Volleyball has never been so exciting,” Melton said. “These girls are hard workers and have a genuine love for the game ... a big shout out to the coaching staff as they put everything they have into this program.”