3A volleyball: Hurricane tames Desert Hills on biggest stage
Orem • Call it a teaching lesson for his players. Call it good luck or call it whatever.
There's no denying the attention drawn by coach Daniel McKeehan's bulging state championship ring, the one he earned by leading the 2008 Hurricane Tigers to a state volleyball title.
He said he only wore it during the postseason.
McKeehan will have another ring to show his players during the postseason next year.
Hurricane won its second championship by sweeping Desert Hills on Saturday night at Utah Valley University in the Class 3A title match, a victory celebrated by a mob at midcourt between players and student section.
It was the first win in four tries for the Tigers against the Thunder, which makes it an upset on paper. In truth, Hurricane got hot during the tournament, and it's hard to beat the same team three times, much less four.
"We were confident coming into the match, and we felt like if we kept our composure and executed our game plan that we could be successful," senior middle hitter Malary Reid said. "We wanted to get a lead, and we were able to accomplish that."
The match was over in three sets 25-19, 25-19, 25-11 a rather remarkable result. Desert Hills is a team that had lost just a single set in the state tournament, coming into the championship match. The Thunder went unbeaten in Region 9 and hadn't lost in state since Sept. 7.
But the Tigers kept Desert Hills off balance with a barrage at the net. When they had chances for kills, they put them away. When the Thunder went to their usually potent offensive attack, Hurricane fended off them with well-timed blocks.
"We wanted to keep them off system," McKeehan said. "If they had been able to stay within their system, they would've killed us. But credit to the girls they played very well tonight."
Reid, who played well all tournament, had five blocks at the net. Setter Addie Edwards had 27 assists and Kyndall Gardner added six kills.
O The Tigers beat Desert Hills for the first time in four tries this season.
• Hurricane dropped only two sets in the state tournament. Both were against Snow Canyon in the semifinals.