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Green River Volleyball wins tournament in Duchesne

Sydney Thayn gets the ball around the block.
The Lady Pirates pose for a photo after winning the Duchesne tournament. Taylor Johnson, Hannah Manalili, Dallice Johnson, Mikayla Shaffer, Michaela Hughes, Feleisha Antillon, Sydney Thayn and Coach Burke Simmons.
Taylor Johnson tips the ball over the block.
Feleisha Antillon passes the ball for Green River.
Michaela Hughes goes up for the kill as her team-mates prepare to play defense if the shot is returned.

The rambunctious crowd in the Duchesne gym was thinning considerably from the numbers earlier in the day as cheerful supporters left the gymnasium right behind the team they had come to support. However the few (and faithful) Pirate fans had reason to stay, their team was still in the mix. Though the night was getting late and the trip home would be a long one, these Lady Pirate fans had reason to stick it out. They were playing in the double elimination championship game with the lady Eagles of Duchesne. A place that not too many had them in.

The Lady Pirates participated in a nine team two day tournament spanning the Labor Day weekend. Playing teams from Uintah, Union, Pinnacle and Tabiona in pool play before being placed in the tournament. They played against a Uintah team they hadn't previously seen. The Lady Pirates made quick work of the Uintah team and headed to lunch thinking this is fun. They worried about the next game as they were to meet a 3A team that was clearly the best team there based on pool play.

Lunch must have been good as the Lady Pirates came out and took care of business against Union. Michaela Hughes and Jamie Johnson were pounding the ball on the front line complemented by Taylor Johnson and Sydney Thayn. Dallice Johnson was setting the ball nicely while Feleisha Antillon stepped up as team captain and fought valiantly for calls she didn't think were made as she (and her team mates) saw them. Hannah Manalili and Mikayla Shaffer saw limited playing time but made significant contributions when called upon.

The next game had the Pirates pitted against the host team the Lady Eagles. Duchesne's volleyball team visited Green River earlier in the season. The Lady Pirates stole a victory out of the jaws of defeat as Green River won the final three games after losing the first two. Today would be different as the Lady Eagles schooled the Lady Pirates in two games.

On the heels of leaving the tournament early, Green River played a tough Union team three games before becoming victorious setting the stage for a rematch with the Lady Eagles of Duchesne. The excitement was building, as the Lady Pirates made it into the championship game. The Lady Eagles had just beat the Pirates so what the heck, play hard and head for home. Only thing is, someone forgot to tell the Lady Pirates that they were just supposed to lay down and play dead.

The first set was back and forth with Duchesne the victor but the next set was all Pirates. The Lady Pirates jumped out to a 13-4 lead and extended it to 17-5. The Lady Eagles began to claw their way back to a score of 24-16 before the Pirates made the final point to tie it up at one set apiece. The final game (to 15 points) had the two teams battle to an 11-11 tie. Green River was able to pull ahead to a slim 14-13 lead before the Pirates were able to seal the victory. The small contingent of Green River fans were whooping it up now. While the Duchesne fans were wondering what had happened and before the loss settled in, the final game began. One game to 25 and two to 15 if needed.

The first game was a mirror of what had been happening to the Lady Pirates throughout the tournament. They had moments of volleyball brilliance and moments of head scratching by Coach Simmons. The girls were tired and hungry but never gave up. The later it got the more they 'chatted it up' on the floor and the better they seemed to play.

After winning the first game, the Pirates jumped out to a five point lead before the Lady Eagles clawed their way back to within two points. The Pirates finished them off 15 -13.

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