Last fall, the South Fremont High School volleyball team qualified for its first 3A state tournament in six years.
The Cougars took it a step further Tuesday in Driggs, defeating defending district and 3A state champion Sugar-Salem 25-22, 15-25, 25-19, 25-23 Tuesday to win its first 3A District 6 volleyball title since 2010.
The No. 2 seeded Cougars went 3-0 in the tournament, defeating No. 3 Shelley in four sets and No. 1 Sugar-Salem in four sets on Saturday before beating Sugar-Salem again Tuesday. The win gives South Fremont an automatic bid to next week’s 3A state tournament in north Idaho.
“South Fremont isn’t a pushover volleyball program anymore,” first-year South Fremont coach Xavier Miranda said. “That’s kinda what our slogan and phrase is this year: set a tone for our program and get our name out there. Some of these girls have been working on this moment for four years and they finally got it.”
Miranda said Tuesday was the sixth meeting this season between the Cougars and Diggers. Winning the first set Saturday laid the foundation for Tuesday.
“We’ve never done that before this season—taking the first set,” Miranda said. “Each time we’ve played them, we’ve done a little better. Saturday we just came out firing on all cylinders. The last couple games have been the best they’ve played all year.”
Miranda added that his seniors deserve much credit for their district tournament run.
“They stepped up when they needed to step up,” Miranda said. “They wanted to win and they left everything on the court.”
South Fremont (14-5) begins the state tournament Oct. 27 with a match versus the District 3 runner-up. Sugar-Salem will play District 4’s runner-up Saturday in a state play-in game.
Earlier in the day, Sugar-Salem defeated Shelley 25-14, 25-19, 25-15 in an elimination game. Shelley coach Dave Cousin said starting setter M.E. Gillespie sprained her ankle in the first set and temporarily sat out before returning in the second set. She totaled 15 assists for the night. Lone senior Chloe Thompson had seven kills while Amy White and Sydney Leal had three each. White also had 12 digs while Madison Jolley had nine and Thompson had five. Thompson had three blocks and Leal and Tierney Bilstrom had two each for the Russets, who end the season 16-21.
5A District 5-6
BONNEVILLE 3, RIGBY 0; MADISON 3, HIGHLAND 0; HIGHLAND 3, RIGBY 1; MADISON 3, HILLCREST 0: At Bonneville, the No. 1 seeded Bees knocked off No. 5 seeded Rigby 25-10, 25-7, 25-16 and advanced to the 5A District 5-6 semifinals.
The Bees’ usual playmakers, Makayla Sorensen, Alexis McMurtrey, Sadie Lott, Kalli Harris and Sade Williams played well. Sorensen had 14 kills and three aces, Williams had nine kills, three blocks and two aces, Lott finished with six kills, two aces and 12 digs and Harris had 13 digs and two aces. McMurtrey finished with five aces and 36 assists.
“We were very efficient,” Bonneville coach Chantal McMurtrey said. “The girls were pretty focused, dialed in.”
Bonneville (34-4) will play Madison at 4 p.m. Thursday while Hillcrest will play Highland at the same time.
4A District 5-6
PRESTON 3, IDAHO FALLS 0; CENTURY 3, SKYLINE 0; CENTURY 3, BLACKFOOT 0; PRESTON 3, SKYLINE 1; IDAHO FALLS 3, BLACKFOOT 0: At Century High School, defending district champion Idaho Falls went 1-1 on its first day of districts while Blackfoot and Skyline were eliminated.
No. 5 seeded Preston upset No. 2 seeded Idaho Falls 25-20, 25-17, 25-23 in the opening round, pushing the Tigers to the loser’s bracket to play No. 4 Blackfoot at 8 p.m. It was I.F.’s first district volleyball loss since 2012. Idaho Falls beat the Broncos 25-9, 25-11, 25-9 to preserve its season.
Idaho Falls coach Laurel Craynor said her team had to make adjustments Tuesday due to an injured starter, but those adjustments did not influence the result of the Preston match.
“I think that we put more pressure on ourselves than we needed to,” Craynor said. “We didn’t quite rise to the occasion. That definitely played in the kids’ heads instead of going out and playing hard. That Blackfoot match, we came and we played hard and we played how we were supposed to play.”
The Tigers (23-17) get a rematch against Preston in a 4 p.m. elimination match Thursday.
2A District 6
FIRTH 3, NORTH FREMONT 0: At Firth, No. 1 seeded Firth began the 2A District 6 tournament with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-15 win over No. 5 seeded North Fremont.
The two teams had just met five days earlier in their regular season finale in Firth.
“We just talked about making sure that we came out and did what our game plan was and that’s make sure we play our game, play defense,” Firth coach Elda Park said. “They were determined to win their first round of play.”
Hailey Gee had 16 kills while Abby Schiess and Jordyn Adams each had six kills. Cammie Gee had 30 assists and two blocks, Ashlee Adams had six digs and Emily Vasquez had five digs for Firth (18-5), which plays Thursday at Salmon in the 7 p.m. match. Park said the entire tournament moves to Salmon on Thursday.