Orem • The bracket indicates Rich is in exactly the same position it was a year ago at the Class 1A state volleyball tournament.
Two three-set victories on Day 1 to reach the semifinals.
But in reality, there is very little the same as a year ago. Only one starter Cami Lamborn played at Utah Valley University's UCCU Center last season. The rest of the faces are taking the journey in for the first time.
"We all decided to work together as a team because we're so young," senior Ellen Peart, a first-year starter, said after the Rebels' 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 victory against Milford in Wednesday's quarterfinals. "We're starting new. It's a whole different team."
Peart and Lamborn were dominant at the net for Rich (17-9), which advanced to Thursday's 11 a.m. semifinal. Taking feeds from freshman setter Andree Cornia, the Rebels were steady from start to finish.
The only hiccups appeared to be problems with the Rebels' rotation, something coach Cindy Stuart could laugh about after the fact.
"We had one girl in the wrong spot, then I put the rotation in wrong," Stuart said about the delays in the third set. "We were really confused. It was like the 'Twilight Zone.'"
The Rebels set the tone from the start when freshman Lilia Brown dived headlong into the seats beyond the back line trying to save a point. Rich led the entire way in the first two sets, and its biggest deficit was at 16-13 in the third.
But Peart's kill swung momentum, and a Lamborn kill from the back row signified the end was near.
Rich finds itself carrying the torch for Region 17. The Rebels were the only of the four teams to advance out of the opening round Wednesday afternoon. They now are halfway to their first state title since 2008. Just don't tell the players.
"They're having fun," Stuart said. "They're just excited to be on this court."
At Utah Valley
Semifinals, 11 a.m.
• Rich vs. Piute
• St. Joseph vs. Panguitch
Final, 4 p.m.
• Semifinal winners