With a 6-8 record at the end of the regular season, the Whitehorse High School volleyball team earned the 13th spot in the UHSAA 1A volleyball RPI rankings and were forced to play their way into the 2019 state tournament on Saturday, October 26.
As it turned out, the Lady Raiders were up to the task. They put together a strong play-in match, dominating the Mount Vernon Academy Lady Patriots of Murray, UT in a 25-7, 25-10, and 25-6 straight-sets win.
With the sweep, Whitehorse advanced to the second round of the state tournament and a tough matchup with the #4 Piute Lady Thunderbirds at Utah Valley University on Friday, November 1.
Piute finished second in powerhouse Region 20 this season behind the number-one team in the state, Panguitch. Although the Lady Raiders were hoping their play-in win would give them enough momentum to pull off a big upset, it was evident from the start that they had their hands full.
The Lady Thunderbirds opened with a lead in each set and never looked back, cruising to a sweep of Whitehorse 25-10, 25-14, and 25-15.
The loss dropped the Lady Raiders to the sixth place bracket and pitted them against the Manila Lady Mustangs in the quarterfinals Friday night.
Whitehorse looked strong in their second match at the tourney. They led from the start of set one until midway through when Manila grabbed their first lead.
From that point, the teams traded the advantage until Whitehorse got the edge late and held off the Lady Mustangs for an exciting 25-23 win.
The first-set win fired up the Lady Raiders, and they went on to dominate set two 25-14. Facing elimination, Manila put up a tough fight in the third set.
The teams went back and forth for the entire frame, until Whitehorse once again was able to get a slight advantage for match point, 24-21. The Lady Mustangs rallied for a couple points, but Whitehorse was able to hold them off and close out the sweep 25-23.
The straight-sets win set up a meeting against a familiar foe, Region 19 rivals Green River, in the sixth place semifinals. It was a golden opportunity for Whitehorse to exact some revenge on the Lady Pirates, who had beaten them in both of their regular season meetings.
Early on, it looked like Green River would win their third in a row over the Lady Raiders this year. They took down Whitehorse fairly easily in the first set 25-17.
But from that point, WHS dug in, showed their true mettle, and dominated the next three sets 25-17, 25-14, and 25-16 to dispatch Green River and earn a spot in the sixth place game Saturday, November 2.
It would be a tough challenge against the third-place team from Region 22 – the #10 Tabiona Lady Tigers. In the first set, Whitehorse put up a real fight, but fell just short 25-22.
The opening-set loss deflated the Lady Raiders and at the same time gave the Lady Tigers all the momentum they needed. Whitehorse struggled down the stretch, losing sets two and three 25-15 and 25-14.
Despite the loss, Whitehorse has every reason in the world to hold their heads high in 2019. They finished eighth in the state and their 8-10 overall record is their best since 2013.
Although the Lady Raiders will lose five seniors, there is a strong contingent of young players who are ready to step up and fill their roles.
The 2019 team set a precident, and upcoming seasons are looking very positive for coaches Yolynbah and Adrian Dickson and all the Whitehorse volleyball players.