Orem • Rise is the word of the day, according to Woods Cross volleyball coach Nicole Hogan.

Every day, in fact, for the 2017 season.

And it’s likely no one exemplifies that word more in so many ways than senior Whitney McEwan.

At 6 foot 2, the Wildcats’ middle blocker obviously is tall, but her ability to rise goes beyond that.

“She touches 10-6. It’s not just happenstance. She works her tail off,” Hogan said. “Ever since she started volleyball, she’s been an incredibly hard worker.”

McEwan and her teammates ascended to new heights Friday at Utah Valley University. Well, new heights since the current senior group has been there.

The Wildcats beat Alta in straight sets to open the Class 5A state tournament. They then were tested by Skyline in the quarterfinal round, which is where they were eliminated last year. But they pulled out the win in four sets.

“This is so exciting. This is the furthest we’ve been able to go in state so far,” McEwan said. “At least since I’ve been in. It was frustrating when we lost [to Salem Hills in the 2016 quarters]. We knew the best we could take was sixth or seventh.”

McEwan may be the player most under the radar when it comes to a big class of Utah prep players committed to play at BYU. Current seniors slated to play for the Cougars include Pleasant Grove’s Heather Gneiting, Lone Peak’s Madi Robinson, American Fork’s Tayler Tausinga and McEwan.

Gneiting’s and Robinson’s teams battled for the Class 5A title last year.

Tausing and McEwan, meanwhile, are making their first forays into the semifinal round.

“Maybe because of the program, she’s not coming from a bigger school,” Hogan said about McEwan’s relative anonymity, although the Woods Cross standout said she was comfortable knowing that she had established a good reputation through other avenues, like club volleyball.

She’s hoping more success at the state tournament Saturday will elevate her reputation a little more.


Opening round

Wasatch def. West 25-23, 25-23, 25-22

Corner Canyon def. Viewmont 27-25, 25-20, 25-11

Bountiful def. Cottonwood 25-12, 25-11, 25-19

Springville def. Murray 25-13, 25-21, 25-14

Box Elder def. Timpview 25-9, 25-17, 25-14

Skyridge def. Highland 25-7, 25-9, 25-14

Skyline def. Timpanogos 25-10, 25-18, 25-10

Woods Cross def. Alta 25-13, 25-17, 28-26

State quarterfinals

Corner Canyon def. Wasatch 21-25, 27-25, 25-18, 25-9

Bountiful def. Springville 25-14, 25-17, 25-14

Box Elder def. Skyridge 25-12, 21-25, 25-14, 25-11

Woods Cross def. Skyline 25-18, 25-8, 19-25, 26-24

Saturday at Utah Valley University

State semifinals

Bountiful vs. Corner Canyon, 10:30 a.m.

Box Elder vs. Woods Cross, 12:30 p.m.

State championship

Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.


Saturday at Utah Valley University

State semifinals

Pleasant Grove vs. Bingham, 10:30 a.m.

Lone Peak vs. American Fork, 12:30 p.m.

State championship

Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.