Class 5A » Because of how the regions are stacked up against each other in this year’s bracket, the powers from regions 3 and 4 are likely to face off in quarterfinals on Friday, rather than semifinals on Saturday. Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove, from Region 4, along with Bingham and Brighton, from Region 3, are the top four ranked teams in 5A. The team on the biggest roll entering state is Lone Peak, where first-year coach Reed Carlson has punch from hitters Madelyn Robinson, Tasia Farmer and Gabbi Shumway and solid setting from Kacie Huntsman and Jaquelyn Langhaim. Pleasant Grove remains a threat to win it all behind a tall frontline led by junior Heather Gneiting. Bingham has gradually improved throughout the year, and the Miners have a versatile, young attack led by setter/opposite side hitter Seleisa Elisaia. Brighton may have the best outside hitter in 5A in Utah-bound Dani Barton. If anyone can break through to the championship outside of this group, it might be Sky View with hitters Abby Harper on the left and AveRee Knowles on the right.
Class 4A » Bountiful is the defending champ in Class 4A, but the Braves started the 2016 year with a new coach (Sarah Chism) and without their leading hitter from ’15 (Kennedy Redding, now at BYU). But senior Seyvion Waggoner has smacked 301 kills for Bountiful, which has gotten better and better through the course of the current campaign. Lying in wait for the Braves are a host of teams from Region 7, and Bountiful may end up having to beat three of them to grab another title. Corner Canyon, led by setter Seville Likes as well as talented young hitters like Madison Brunatti, won the region. Bolstered by the likes of Mikayla Upham, who played for 5A champ Lehi last year, Skyridge finished second, while Timpview, with a pair of the hardest hitters in the state in Jensyn Turner and Selai Damuni, will also be a tough out. Maple Mountain and Skyline both enter the playoffs as region champs, in Region 8 and Region 6 respectively, and both sets of Eagles hope that translates into success.
At Utah Valley University
» Skyridge vs. Wasatch, 3 p.m.
» Bountiful vs. Judge Memorial, 3 p.m.
» Skyline vs. Woods Cross, 3 p.m.
» Salem Hills vs. Timpview, 3 p.m.
» Bonneville vs. Olympus, 4:30 p.m.
» Corner Canyon vs. Springville, 4:30 p.m.
» Maple Mountain vs. Mountain View, 4:30 p.m.
» Murray vs. Box Elder, 4:30 p.m.
» Skyridge/Wasatch vs. Bountiful/Judge, 6 p.m.
» Skyline/Woods Cross vs. Salem Hills/Timpview, 6 p.m.
» Bonneville/Olympus vs. Corner Canyon/Springville, 7:30 p.m.
» Maple Mountain/Mountain View vs. Murray/Box Elder, 7:30 p.m.
» Brighton vs. Davis, 9 a.m.
» Lone Peak vs. Northridge, 9 a.m.
» Weber vs. Lehi, 9 a.m.
» Viewmont vs. Copper Hills, 9 a.m.
» Sky View vs. American Fork, 10:30 a.m.
» Layton vs. West Jordan, 10:30 a.m.
» Bingham vs. Syracuse, 10:30 a.m.
» Pleasant Grove vs. Fremont, 10:30 a.m.
» Brighton/Davis vs. Lone Peak/Northridge, noon
» Weber/Lehi vs. Viewmont/Copper Hills, noon
» Sky View/American Fork vs. Layton/West Jordan, 1:30 p.m.
» Bingham/Syracuse vs. Pleasant Grove/Fremont, 1:30 p.m.