Senior Kasey Betts and sophomore Rylee Pruitt jump up for a block with backup from junior Tracy Dalton (foreground) and senior Lexi Risenhoover (background) against San Juan on Tuesday, Oct. 14. The Broncos defeated Grand in four sets. [Photo by Tim Chappell / Moab Sun News]

The Grand County High School volleyball team lost its final two home games of the season 3-1 to rivals San Juan on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and Monticello on Thursday, Oct. 16.

The Lady Red Devils, who sit at fourth place in Region 15 with a 3-5 record in region play, are scheduled to travel to Salina to play fifth-place North Sevier (2-6) on Friday, Oct. 24 before finishing the regular season in Monroe against first-place South Sevier (7-1) on Saturday, Oct. 25.

With a victory against North Sevier, the Lady Red Devils would clinch the final spot in the 2A playoffs, which take place at Utah Valley University in Orem on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 29 and 30; the playoffs were originally scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, but were moved forward because of scheduling conflicts at UVU. If North Sevier defeats Grand and both finish with the same region record (either 3-7 or 4-6), the teams would play at a neutral site for the final spot. If Grand loses to both North and South Sevier, and North Sevier defeats San Juan on Saturday, Oct. 25, the Wolves will clinch the final playoff spot.

“We’ve got to have that win (against North Sevier) to ensure our spots at state,” Grand volleyball coach Deb Hren said. “We beat them the first time around and feel like we’re the stronger team. We’ve seen South Sevier a couple of times as well and I feel like we have a good chance of beating them, also.”

In their home finale against Monticello, each set was decided by four points or less as the Buckaroos took the first set 25-21, the Lady Red Devils took the second 25-22 and the Buckaroos took back-to-back extended sets to claim the match 26-24 in the third and 27-25 in the fourth. Both teams wore pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness as part of the “Swing For Life” fundraiser.

“I’ve been having nightmares about two points,” Hren said.

The Lady Red Devils have struggled throughout the season to put away close sets, and to change that trend, Hren said the team needs to work on staying focused and believing in itself.

“When we have a lead and a team starts coming back on us, I see doubt start to creep in,” she said.

Senior Kasey Betts filled the stat sheet in the loss to the Buckaroos, leading Grand with 13 kills, four blocks and two service aces. Fellow senior Lexi Risenhoover added eight kills, senior Cammy Beeman and junior Talaunee Croasmun each had 14 digs, senior Kesley Backus added 12 digs and Croasmun also had two service aces.

“We made a minor lineup change and put Lexi at an outside hitter position, which makes us a little stronger up front,” Hren said.

Against San Juan on Tuesday, the Lady Red Devils hung tough with the region leaders in the first two sets, claiming the first one 26-24 before dropping the second 25-23, after which the match fell apart for Grand and the Broncos won the third and fourth sets both by a 25-12 margin.

“If we would have won that second set, it would have a whole different match,” Hren said. She said even though they still lost, the Lady Red Devils did “much better against San Juan and Monticello the second time around,” after being swept on the road by both teams earlier in the season.

Versus the Broncos, Backus led Grand with seven kills, followed by Betts with six. Backus and junior Tracy Dalton each served two aces, Dalton added six digs and Betts accumulated three solo blocks.

The Lady Red Devils’ matchup with North Sevier on Friday, Oct. 24 is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Salina, and their regular season finale versus South Sevier is set for Saturday, Oct. 25 at 3:30 p.m. in Monroe.

Final playoff spot hangs in balance this weekend

We’ve got to have that win (against North Sevier) to ensure our spots at state. We beat them the first time around and feel like we’re the stronger team.