by Tad Barton
The San Juan Broncos volleyball team wrapped up their 2018 campaign last week at the Utah High School Activities Association 3A State Tournament.
The Broncos started the tournament off by defeating Providence Hall in three sets, 25-12, 25-10, 25-6.
Ta’ssi Su’esu’e paced the Broncos at the net with 13 kills while Delaney Palmer and Jerika Torgerson just missed the double-digit mark with nine and eight kills respectively.
Serving up most of those kills was Bodell Nielson, who finished the match with 33 assists.
Gracee Bowers and Palmer led San Juan in service percentage at 93 percent. Bowers also added three aces as did Whitnie Ivins.
Torgerson and Amber Nielson each had one block, while Hope Holliday led the Broncos with 14 digs.
Game two of the tournament pitted the Broncos against the South Summit Wildcats in the Quarter-final round. Once again San Juan breezed through the match, winning in three sets, 25-23, 25-20, 25-12.
Su’esu’e was a force at the net, notching 19 kills.
Three other Broncos had solid outings at the net. Palmer finished with eight kills, Ivins had seven, and Torgerson finished with six kills in the match.
Bodell Nielson’s 23 assists paced San Juan in that category, while she and three teammates; Bowers, Ivins, and Holliday; were all perfect from the service line.
Defensively, Amber Nielson and Palmer each recorded a block, while Ivins and Bodell Nielson led San Juan in digs with 13 and twelve.
On day two of the tournament, the Broncos faced off with Region 15 foe Emery in the semifinal round. San Juan swept the regular season series with the Spartans, and after defeating them 25-16, 27-25, 25-16, the Broncos remained undefeated against Emery.
With 15 kills, Su’esu’e once again led San Juan in attacking. She was followed by Ivins, who finished the match with ten kills.
Setter Bodell Nielson again paced the Broncos in assists with 31.
Su’esu’e was also one of three Broncos to have a perfect outing from the service line and led San Juan with three aces. Palmer and Holliday were the others who put every serve into play.
Three Broncos finished with two blocks apiece to lead San Juan in that statistic. They were Torgerson, Palmer, and Bodell Nielson. Su’esu’e, Bowers, and Holliday all eclipsed 10 digs, as Holliday had twelve, Su’esu’e 11, and Bowers 10.
The win against Emery advanced San Juan to the Championship match against the top ranked Morgan Trojans. The Broncos got off to a slow start in the first set, ultimately falling to the Trojans 25-15.
San Juan fought back in the second set and led Morgan for a brief time part way through the set. The lead was short lived, as the Broncos pushed the Trojans right to the end but fell to 0-2 in the match when Morgan picked up the 25-21 win.
In the third and final set, the Trojans slowly pulled away from the Broncos on their way to a 25-17 win.
The Broncos finished their season as the 3A State runner-up with 29-6 overall with only two losses to 3A opponents, including the loss to Morgan in the title match.
San Juan was 11-1 in Region 15 and the outright Region Champions.
Congratulations to the Lady Broncos on a great season.
After a first round bye, the San Juan Broncos football team was back in action last Friday afternoon.
They played host to the Millard Eagles in the 2A Quarter-finals after the Eagles defeated North Sevier in the first round of the playoffs the week before.
The game started off horribly for San Juan, as Millard drove the ball down to the five-yard line early in the first quarter. The Bronco defense dug in and kept the Eagles out of the end zone on a fourth and goal try from the four-yard line.
Disaster hit for San Juan on the next play when they turned the ball over to the Eagles via fumble. This time Millard wouldn’t be denied, as they scored on a four-yard run to go up 7-0 after their PAT attempt split the uprights.
The turnover bug wasn’t quite done with San Juan, as the Broncos again gave the ball up to the Eagles to set up Millard’s next score early in the second quarter, giving the visiting team a 14-0 lead.
Down two scores, the Broncos once again showed the resiliency they have all season. They drove the ball to the one-yard line where Corbin Palmer tucked in behind his offensive line and scored. Levi Ward added the PAT, and San Juan trailed 14-7.
Defense was the name of the game as both teams defenses stymied the offenses for most of the remainder of the first half. Millard was able to add to their lead just before halftime when they hit a 24-yard field goal, giving them a 17-7 lead at the half.
The second half belonged to the Broncos, who came out of the locker room and forced Millard to a three and out on their first possession of the second half.
San Juan then manufactured their second scoring drive of the game when Palmer hit Shaw Nielson on a 14-yard pass to pull within four points, 17-13, after Ward’s PAT attempt sailed wide right.
After the score, both defenses stepped up once again until late in the fourth quarter when the Broncos offense seemed to be picking up some momentum.
Twice late in the fourth quarter, San Juan drove the ball deep into Millard territory, but an interception and a turnover on downs ended those drives, giving the Eagles a 17-13 win.
After going 4-7 in 2017, San Juan flipped the script and finished 6-4 in 2018. They won a share of the 2A South Region title, despite being chosen to finish last by the other coaches in the region.
Congratulations, Broncos on a great season.