Orem • Bountiful had every reason to believe a third consecutive volleyball state championship would be coming its way Saturday night.

The Braves’ last 11 postseason matches were won in sweeps, just like the two times they faced Box Elder, their foe in Saturday night’s title match, during the regular season this year.

Not this time.

The Bees shocked the Braves 25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 25-27, 15-8 to win their first title since 1996.

“It’s freaking amazing,” Box Elder junior middle Jaida Burt said. “When the game started, we were ready and prepared. That wasn’t our first time playing them, so we knew them good.”

Bountiful had not dropped a set against Box Elder in the two regular-season matches between the Region 5 opponents. That was all out the window by the time Bees outside hitter Andreanna McKee slammed down her 15th kill — the match-clincher in the fifth set to kick off a wild celebration for the new champs.

“The first time we played them, I felt like it was deer in the headlights,” Box Elder coach Kristine Harding said. “After the first match, we went back to the drawing board.

“Match 2, we knew we could hang with them. We knew we could block-to-block, defense-to-defense. At the state tournament, it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row.”


Box Elder (15-3) was very good from the outset. A 7-0 run when the Bees were down 17-12 put the underdogs on the right track in the first set. A push kill then a block by Emily Isaacson, who also had 15 kills, finished the last two points to claim the opener.


• Box Elder claims its third overall championship and prevents Bountiful from winning its third in a row.

• Senior Andreanna McKee and junior Emily Isaacson record 15 kills apiece to lead the Bees.

• Brook Pe’a’s 20 kills pace the Braves, who also get 15 from Brie Pe’a and a dozen from Baylee Mittelstaedt.

But Bountiful (15-3), led by 20 kills from Brook Pe’a, won the second. And the pattern continued with the Bees winning the third and the Braves forcing a decisive set by taking the fourth.

The fifth set was tied at 6-6 when Isaacson got a kill and went back to serve. She was behind the service line for Box Elder’s big run in the first set, and history repeated itself in the fifth.

Box Elder won six straight points when middle Shayna Baugh had two kills and two blocks in that stretch alone. Baugh collected 13 kills and four stuffs at the net in the match. Fellow middle blocker Burt had nine kills and a pair of blocks.

“Our middles all season long have been phenomenal blockers,” Harding said. “Tonight, as quickly as she [Baugh] blocked, she was ready to slam the ball down their throats.”

Bountiful swept Corner Canyon in a state semifinal, a rematch of last year’s 4A championship game, earlier in the day to reach the title match.

“Their middles really came to play,” Braves coach Sarah Chism said about Box Elder. “They passed well. I think that was the difference. That’s a great team.”