Prep volleyball: St. Joseph clinches Class 1A title
Orem • There's a different sound that resonates from the ball when Britt Sederholm spikes it to the ground. A sort of bass drum, to others' snares.
Thursday evening, there was a different sound from the St. Joseph side of the court following a Class 1A state volleyball championship game.
The sound of elation.
After years of disappointing finishes, the Jayhawks won their first state title with a 25-11, 25-9, 19-25, 25-12 victory against Piute at Utah Valley University's UCCU Center.
"There's no other team I'd rather win with," said Sederholm, a senior outside hitter who was part of a state runner-up team in 2012 and two semifinalists before that. "We started back up in February and we had that bitter taste in our mouth. Losing is the worst and everyone was like, 'This is it, this is our last chance.'"
St. Joseph (29-3) made the most of that chance. With a senior-heavy lineup, the Jayhawks jumped out early on Piute and looked as if they were going to sweep their fourth consecutive state opponent.
With precision and power, St. Joseph ran out to a 2-0 lead before the Thunderbirds showed signs of life. In the fourth set, however, senior Emily Jackson served three aces to open the scoring and the Jayhawks' height and experience took over from there.
"These girls deserve every bit of this," said coach Ray Franklin, in his 17th season at the school. "We struggled that third set, but I had confidence we would come back. That's the kind of players they are. They're mentally tough and they don't get down very often."
St. Joseph piled up points when Jackson set it wide and Sederholm lowered the boom. Sederholm, arguably the best player in 1A, finished with a match-best 24 kills.
Jackson tallied 26 assists and senior Audra Thurston had eight solo blocks and four kills.
"I would be nothing without them, honestly," Sederholm said of her teammates. "When I was 10 years old, I started playing with these girls. Without them, who knows where I'd be. They are my team, this is a team."
Sederholm, the only Jayhawk who plays club volleyball, said she was burned out on the sport as a freshman, before Franklin re-ignited the flame.
"Franky means so much to me," Sederholm said. "I had kinda lost my passion for volleyball. He brought my passion back. I'm so happy we could win for him. â¦ He needed it."
O St. Joseph wins its first state volleyball title in four sets.
• The Jayhawks lost just one set in four matches over the two-day tournament.
• Runner-up Piute is denied its first state title since 1986.