The Red Devil girls volleyball team. From left to right: Talaunee Croasmun, Brook Schultz, Cammy Beeman, Kesley Backus, Kwincey Wells, Kasey Betts, Sydney Lema, Lexi Risenhoover, Tiffanie Whipple, Jessica Valdes, Shailee Croasmun, and Haley Rice. [Photo by Melissa Parriott / Photo courtesy]

The Grand County volleyball team protected its home court in its final two matches of the regular season, defeating North Sevier in straight sets on Friday, Oct. 25 and South Sevier in five sets on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Lady Devils finished 6-4 in Region 15 play, earning the No. 3 seed in the state playoffs.

In the back-and-forth matchup Saturday afternoon, Grand won the first two sets 25-18 and 25-23 before surrendering the next two 25-20 and 25-13. They got it together in time to take the fifth set 15-13 to win the match. Sophomore Sydney Lema led Grand with 15 kills and 15 service points to go along with 12 digs and 7 blocks. Junior Kelsey Backus chipped in with 12 service points and 12 digs, senior Tiffanie Whipple added 23 digs and 8 service points, senior Shailee Croasmun notched 15 digs, junior Brooke Schultz had 10 assists, sophomore Madi Jones had 9 assists and junior Kasey Betts had 10 blocks.

Grand Volleyball coach Deb Hren said the craziness of senior day and the schedule confusion – South Sevier showed up ready to play eariler than planned, which monkey-wrenched the Lady Devil team lunch – contributed to the Lady Devils faltering in the middle sets, especially the fourth, but they pulled themselves together enough to win the fifth set.

“I think with the chaos of the day, we ran out of gas,” she said. “I’m glad they realized what was on the line with state and focused enough to win the fifth set.”

The Lady Devils were on the losing end of a similar match in Monroe against the Rams on Oct. 4, when four of the five sets were decided by two points and two sets went to 30-plus points – normally in the first four sets, the first team to score 25 points and be ahead by 2 points wins the set.

“It was nice to take the first two sets (Saturday) after that marathon match-up we had with them last time,” Hren said.

The Wolves were no match for Grand in the Breast Cancer Awareness Game on Friday night as the Lady Devils won the first two sets each 25-19 and the third set 25-12. Lema had 12 kills, Whipple had 11 service points, Schultz had 14 assists, Jones had 12 assists, Croasmun and fellow senior Haley Rice each had 7 digs and Betts had 5 blocks.

Hren said the Lady Devils are a different team than they were earlier in the season and hopefully, they’re peaking at the right time.

“We’ve been fine-tuning the lineup to put players in stronger spots and everybody’s been focused on doing their job,” Hren said. “We’re more put together and more confident.”

Hren said she is happy with the total team effort the Lady Devils have had on display. No one player has been dominating the stat line.

“There’s not one single player the other team can key on,” she said.

In a non-region match on Tuesday, Oct. 22 against Monticello, the Lady Devils fell to the host Buckaroos 25-17, 25-20, 15-25, 25-19. Lema had a triple-double with 16 digs, 13 kills and 10 blocks, Betts had 12 digs and 9 blocks, Backus added 12 digs, Whipple had 10 digs and Schultz had 10 digs and 8 assists.

The Lady Devils’ season draws to an end at the Utah State 2A Championships, a double-elimination tournament which is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2 at Utah Valley University in Orem. Their first match is against Region 14 No. 2-seed Waterford on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Hren said Grand must not look past Waterford toward the second round, despite having beaten them in straight sets on Aug. 24 at the Dixie High Fly Tournament.

“We beat them quite easily in St. George, but we beat San Juan in St. George, too, then lost to them twice in the regular season,” Hren said. “If we play our game and everyone stays focused, we’ll beat Waterford, but we can’t look past them.”