Orem • Volleyball often is called a sport of momentum, but figuring out who had it from one moment to the next was a near impossible task in the Class 5A state quarterfinal between Bingham and Lehi on Thursday night.
After an extremely long match point, finished off by a cross-court kill by junior Gracey Tuifua, Bingham advanced to the state semifinals Saturday with a 25-21, 22-25, 16-25, 25-7, 16-14 victory.
"It was crazy," Tuifua said. "It was a struggle, but we got it, so I'm happy. I had tried to hit one down the line [earlier in the same rally]. That didn't work, so I did cut it. Usually it's open."
The final momentum swing seemed to go in favor of Lehi when the Pioneers broke an 8-8 tie thanks to a pair of kills by sophomore Rylin Roberts. Lehi soon was up 13-9, but Bingham got three straight points, including kills from Tuifua and Torre Glasker, to trim the margin to one.
The Pioneers, thanks to a kill by Mckayla Houghton, moved to match point, but aggressive hitting from the Miners proved to be the difference down the stretch. Kills by Glasker and Lexi Thompson were part of a final 4-0 run, punctuated by Tuifua's final kill shot.
"We were, like "Guys just play hard. This is it,'" Tuifua said about the message relayed among teammates in the final moments. "If we don't win this, we don't go to the championship, and that's all we want right now."
Bingham's first comeback of the match came when the Miners fell behind two sets to one. In fact, Bingham rolled to an easy win in set four to force the deciding fifth.
"I think because we lost Game 2, it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit and we came out flat in Game 3," Miners coach Melissa Glasker said. "We talked all year about something worth having is going to take a lot of work. And they did it. They just laid it all out there.
"I'm so proud of them. This group of kids loves each other more than any I've had. ... I knew this was going to be a battle. They played well in their region, and it's a tough region, and we knew we were going to have to come and play."