Losing in two quick matches and bowing quietly out of the state tournament is not how the Riverton volleyball team envisioned their season would conclude.
But that’s exactly what happened.
After finishing first in Region 3 with a 9-1 record (16-8 overall) in the regular season, the Silverwolves undoubtedly had high expectations going into the 5A state tournament at Utah Valley University’s McKay Center Nov. 7-8.
Riverton drew a tough matchup in the first round in Davis. Even though the Darts were a No. 4 seed, they had been toughened up in a demanding Region 1, going up against the likes of Layton, Northridge and Fremont.
Even so, the Silverwolves went into the match with confidence, expecting to gain the victory. That’s why a three-game sweep by Davis -- a 25-19, 25-23, 25-16 decision -- probably put a stun into the Riverton players’ systems.
Perhaps still reeling from the first-round defeat, the Silverwolves came out flat against Lehi in the losers’ bracket. The Pioneers, who had a losing record, feature a young but talented squad, making for streaky play -- either very good or just the opposite.
And, unfortunately for Riverton, the Lehi squad was on its game for this match. The teams were so evenly matched in the first two games that neither team could get a real advantage. But the Pioneers prevailed in both, with identical scores of 28-26.
It wasn’t hard to predict that the Silverwolves wouldn’t show up for the third game, as the Pioneers rolled over their opponent, 25-12, to complete the sweep.
“They were deflated after losing 28-26 twice,” an extremely disappointed Riverton head coach Trudy Pecorelli said. “When we played them earlier it was the same way,” she continued, referring to the early September match between the two teams which Lehi also won in straight sets. The Silverwolves also were close in the first two games of that match (21-25 and 23-25).
It wasn’t the way the six seniors on Riverton’s roster would have liked to finish their high school playing careers but Pecorelli was still proud of the way her team played some close matches.
“They battled hard and we came close in a lot of the games but just kept falling short,” she said.