by Scott Boyle
The Monticello Lady Buckaroos were foiled in their attempt at three straight 1A state volleyball championships, but came away with lots of experience and optimism for the future.
The young Bucks, sporting only one senior on the team, fell to the eventual runner up, Piute, in the quarterfinal match. They regrouped to win two straight to grab fifth place, something they also did in 2010 and 2009.
Coach Tony Esplin’s Buckaroos started the tournament strong with a 3-0 sweep of the Tabiona Tigers, 25-16, 25-13, and 25-20.
But the Bucks ran into a buzz saw in the Piute Thunderbirds, who blocked and killed their way to a 3-1 win over the Bucks.
Piute won the first two sets 25-18 and 25-17 to put the inexperienced Bucks back on their heels but in the third set the Buckaroos found their way when they triumphed 25-19. The fourth set was tight, but Piute pulled away to win 25-22.
In the consolation round, the disappointed Bucks rebounded nicely to embarrass the Milford Tigers in the first set, 25-6. But Milford showed their resiliency to bounce back and take the next two sets by identical 25-22 scores.
The Bucks tied the match with a 25-20 fourth set win before scoring quickly and often in the fifth set to win 15-6 and qualify for the fifth place game.
The learning curve was fulfilled in the fifth place game as the Bucks dominated Duchesne to win 3-0, by scores of 25-16, 25-17, 25-19, to place fifth.
The Lady Bucks finish the season with an excellent 20-6 record.
The Bucks say goodbye to senior Aapree Sheeran, but welcome back every other player including juniors Shania DeAnda, Tiara Cordasco, Loren Nielson, and Mary Beh, sophomores Molly Anderson, Averi Christensen, Ashley Ewart and LaShay Lewis, and freshmen Allie Maughan, Izabell Slade and Tawna Wells.
Monticello first began the volleyball title chase way back in 1973, winning the first ever state high school volleyball championship in the first year of girls volleyball in Utah.
Judy Bailey Skinner coached the girls to that first ever title. Since then, the Bucks have won three more titles, including the 2011 and 2012 titles under Esplin and the 1987 title, with Jo Jeppson at the helm.
Congratulations to the San Juan Lady Bronco volleyball team, who finished second in the 2A state volleyball championship over the weekend at Utah Valley University.
The Broncos finish the year with a 19-7 record and motivation for next year with their two main hitters, Tatianna S’ueSu’e and Sara Morley both back next season.
In the final, SJ lost to the Enterprise Wolves in three sets, 25-22, 2-12, 25-19 to get the silver trophy. Coach Cassy Moon’s team also finished second in 2011.
The storied Bronco program has won 11 titles, third all-time in the state, with their most recent title coming in 2010. Moon has seven of those titles with the first coming in 1999, including five consecutive titles from 2003-2007.
The Broncos first volleyball state championship came in 1993 with Mary Thornton as the coach. Tracy Johnson led the Broncos to two consecutive titles in 1997 and ’98 before handing the reins over to Moon as the Broncos won 10 titles in 14 years.
The Bucks and Bronco football teams ended their hopes on the same weekend this year, much sooner than each team hoped for. Monticello lost a tight 26-17 game to the Rich Rebels and the Broncos were shellacked by the South Summit Wildcats, 43-0.
The Buckaroos played an excellent game, a game they knew would be tight, and had a chance to win right up to the last couple of minutes.
Rich thought they were sending a message to the far traveling Buckaroos when they went 79 yards to paydirt on the first play from scrimmage to lead 7-0.
But the Bucks showed their moxie by taking the ensuing kickoff and marching right back down the field. QB Makade Maloy returned the kickoff to the Buck 40 yard line and then directed the Bucks straight to a touchdown.
The Bucks ran seven straight running plays, highlighted by a 28 yard scamper by Austin Maloy before surprising the Rebels on first and ten from the 14 with a 14 yard touchdown pass from Makade to Austin Wilcox.
And just like that, the Bucks were tied 7-7 and it was game on.
Just into the second quarter, Rich scored again but missed the extra point to lead 13-7. That looked like that would be the halftime score, but the Bucks forced the Rebels into their third fumble at the Rich 38 yard line with just 1:47 left in the half.
Hunter Bowring ran for seven yards, Makade added a 10 yard scramble and Dillon Maughan went for seven before the Bucks scored from the air again on a 14 yard pass, this time to Austin Maloy.
After Austin Maloy added the extra point kick, the Bucks were up 14-13 at half and had the momentum and the ball to begin the second half.
The second half began all Monticello as they controlled the ball and the clock, taking nearly seven minutes off the clock, running the ball ten times in a row to find themselves on the Rich 10 yard line.
But there the drive stalled after a couple of incomplete passes and the Bucks settled for a 28-yard Austin Maloy field goal. The Bucks held a 17-13 lead.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Rebels again, however, as a turnover and numerous penalties plagued the Buckaroos.
The last time the two teams met, the Bucks were up 19-7 in the fourth quarter only to lose 20-19. This time the Rebels scored just as the third quarter ended to lead 20-17 and then added a late touchdown with just about a minute left to put the game out of reach, 26-17.
For the game, The Bucks rushed for 167 yards on 39 carries and 84 passing yards on five completions.
Dillon Maughan led with 50 rushing yards on 12 carries. Austin Maloy added 39 yards on 12 carries and Cole Eldredge had 31 yards on five carries.
Makade Maloy threw for 84 yards completing five of 13 for two touchdowns and one interception.
Defensively, Austin Wilcox led the Bucks with 11 tackles. Austin Maloy had five, Eric Anderson and Cole Eldredge had 3.5, and Hunter Bowring, Jake Giles, Brandon Musselman, Shane Christensen had three each.
The Buckaroos end the 2013 season with a 4-7 record, the Broncos at 6-5.
Congratulations and a hearty “Thank You” to the players and the coaches, who gave their all for good ‘ole MHS and SJH!
Sportshorts is proud of our teams, the players-boys and girls-and the coaches who represent MHS and Monticello, and SJH and Blanding so exemplarily.
Our kids comport themselves well on the playing fields. Seldom a cross word to any official or opposing player, often reaching down to help an opponent off the ground, patting each other on the back in the process, win or lose.
Now that’s what I want out of our sports programs, quality youths of character who will become quality adults with charm and appeal, guided by just such people as their coaches.
That’s what we have. Thanks all!