Orem • It was only the first set, but the Sky View volleyball team knew its chance might be slipping away. It was down 24-20 against Timpview, and a first-set loss would deal a sizable blow to its hopes of taking home the Class 4A state title.
Then the comeback started, and by the time it was over, the Bobcats had scored six straight points to take the first set.
As it turned out, those first-set heroics were a season-saver. The Bobcats took down the Thunderbirds in a five-set thriller, 26-24, 18-25, 25-18, 16-25, 18-16, to win the state championship Saturday at Utah Valley University.
"We fought so hard. This has been our goal the entire season," Bobcats outside hitter Maddie Day said. "We knew no one was standing in our way, no matter what. We were down that first set, and we knew in our heads it was ours. It took everything we had."
Timpview didn't quit after losing the stunning first set. The Thunderbirds won the second set to deal Sky View its first set loss of the tournament.
The Thunderbirds, who were down two sets to one after the Bobcats took the third, again responded to force a fifth set.
The Thunderbirds were within one point of the title multiple times in the fifth, but the Bobcats had an answer each time and eventually finished off the match.
The Bobcats swarmed into a dog pile immediately following the final point, and few players emerged with dry eyes.
Day was instrumental in the win, leading the Region 5 champion Bobcats with 24 kills.
"I do put it on myself to be the leader of this team, but I know anyone could step up at any time to do it," said Day, who was mobbed by Sky View fans following a rendition of the school song. "I just knew in my head what I needed to do to help my team win."
The Bobcats reached the title match relatively unchallenged. After sweeping their first two matches Friday, the Bobcats beat Salem Hills in three sets, 30-28, 25-22, 25-20, in the semifinals. The Skyhawks kept each set close but were unable to push it to avoid the sweep.
Salem Hills won Region 8 and was considered a favorite to reach the championship for the second straight year.
Timpview swept Westlake, 25-22, 25-21, 28-26, in their semifinal. Westlake won Region 7, but the third-seeded Thunderbirds upset a top seed for the second straight match. Timpview beat Region 6 champion Woods Cross in a tense five-set match in the quarterfinals.