Orem • The Copper Hills High volleyball team had quite the streak on the line.
The Grizzlies hadn’t lost a set — a single set — since Oct. 1, a period of time that spanned 14 matches. It was the type of run appropriate for a team ranked No. 1 in 6A heading into the state tournament.
But the streak didn’t just end. It melted faster than a stick of butter in the southern Utah summer sun. And it was the Pleasant Grove Vikings who shined just as bright, and just as hot.
The Vikings won the 6A title with a 3-1 victory over the Grizzlies on Saturday at Utah Valley University despite dropping the opening set. The final scores for Pleasant Grove were 14-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-22.
“There’s nothing better than seeing that overwhelming feeling of winning a state championship,” Vikings coach Allyce Jones said.
The last time Pleasant Grove won a state championship in volleyball was 2014, when the school was in 5A. Jones was also the coach that season.
Junior middle blocker Heather Hamson said the team felt like it had nothing to lose after getting beat in the state tournament by Lone Peak for three consecutive years. So even though they were down a set early, the Vikings just played harder.
“We wanted it so bad,” Hamson said. “We came back with tons of energy and we just fought back and we just pushed so hard. And I think that’s how we came back.”
Copper Hills held a 20-16 lead in the fourth set and looked poised to force a fifth and final one. But Pleasant Grove went on a 9-2 run to close it out and secure the championship.
In the first set, all the long rallies seemed to go the Grizzlies’ way. While the set was tight, they gained separation and won 25-14.
But in the second and third set, the Vikings got off to big leads to start and never looked back. The third set was a blowout for Pleasant Grove at 25-15, holding Copper Hills to its lowest scoring output of the season in sets that went to 25 points.
“I thought that they did a good job of putting every ball away that they received on free balls, on passes,” Grizzlies coach Silver Fonua said. “That was the difference. They executed it. We had opportunities to put away balls and we just couldn’t.”
Copper Hills lost only two matches in the regular season. One of those was to Pleasant Grove.