By Nathaniel Smith • The Times-Independent
Grand County High School’s volleyball team had a packed week with three games on three consecutive days. On Thursday, Sept. 27, the Red Devils edged out Monticello on the road in a tough match that went to five sets. The next day, Grand beat Manti at home in four sets. Then on Saturday, the Red Devils stayed on their home court, but lost to North Sanpete in straight sets.
Things looked dire last Thursday when Grand dropped the first two sets in front of a rowdy Buckaroo crowd. Monticello claimed the first set 25-22 then took the second 25-23. The third set was a nail-biter with Grand barely managing to keep the game going by winning 27-25. The Red Devils then took the fourth set by a more comfortable 25-19 margin. Grand closed out the game with a 15-12 victory in the final set.
Before the matchup with the Manti Templars on Friday, Sept. 28, Grand honored seniors and their parents. Corteney Noyes, Kay Watson and team manager Connor Guerrero received recognition for their hard work this season and throughout their time at GCHS.
Grand started the game strong with sophomore Jessica Jones and Watson each notching kills to set the tone. Manti kept the set close early, but another kill and an ace from Watson, along with kills from sophomores Morgan Lewis and Jaci Shumway allowed Grand to push out to a sizeable lead. Back-to-back kills from Noyes and Jones finished the set with a 25-15 victory for the Red Devils.
Several errors serving and communicating caused Grand to fall behind early in the second set. Despite good kills from Jones, Noyes and Shumway, the Red Devils couldn’t close the gap and Manti took the set 25-20.
Before the third set, Shumway switched out of her differently colored libero jersey, so she could play in the front row. Manti jumped out to an early advantage, but Grand kept the set close. A kill from Jones followed by two devastating attacks by Noyes leveled the score. A bad serve into the net by Manti gave Grand a one-point lead and sparked a decisive rally. Grace Johnston, taking over in the libero position, racked up three service aces in short order. A kill by sophomore Kendyll Cox on an assist from Shumway piled on with a few more Manti mistakes to give Grand a 19-13 lead. A Manti attack barely landed inbounds to end the run, but that was the Templars’ last score in the set. Shumway and Jones each scored kills and junior Chloe Book added an ace to give Grand a 25-14 victory.
Momentum was firmly on Grand’s side going into the fourth set. Most of Manti’s hits landed out of bounds and the Red Devils kept up the relentless attack. Grand piled it on down the stretch and cruised to 25-7 victory in the final set.
Grand did not fare so well in its final home game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 29 against North Sanpete. The Red Devils played hard, but a few costly mistakes gave away points at key times. North Sanpete edged out Grand in the first set 25-23. Good serves kept Grand on the defensive as North Sanpete claimed the second set 25-19 and then the third 25-16.
Grand is now 6-7 on the season overall. On Friday, Oct. 5, the team will head to Richfield for the two-day Sevier Valley Invite Tournament. Following the tournament, the Red Devils will play three road games against region opponents to close the regular season. On Oct. 12, Grand will take on Richfield, then play South Sevier the next day, which will be followed by a matchup with San Juan on Oct. 16.