REXBURG -- The Sugar-Salem volleyball team found itself in unfamiliar territory on Saturday when the Diggers actually trailed in a match.
No problem. The senior-laden lineup didn't even flinch.
"It shows that we have heart and we're never giving up," senior Katie Miller said after the Diggers rallied to beat Mountain View in the championship match of the Battle of the Best tournament at Madison High.
The 22-25, 25-22, 15-13 win was as close as the final score would indicate as both teams battled and neither led by more than three or four points during the entire match.
Mountain View, ranked No. 3 in the 5A state coaches' poll, took a lead late in the first set and held on for the close win. The next two sets featured plenty of rallies and back-and-forth action. Sugar-Salem coach Cami Dodson credited her team's experience and depth for stepping up against top competition where every point seemingly could have swung the match.
"When you have to push past obstacles it makes you better," Dodson said, noting that playing against good, higher classification teams can only make the Diggers better as they make a run for their third straight 3A state title.
That was the case during Saturday's bracket play, where Sugar-Salem ran the table on 5A teams, beating Idaho Falls, Thunder Ridge and then Mountain View to improve to 28-0.
Miller had 17 kills in the championship match and Kimberly Pannell had 10. Hailey Harris had 25 assists and 16 digs. Natalyah Nead led the way with five blocks.
Mountain View had the early lead in the second set, but Sugar-Salem started to make a push. Miller's cross-court kill put the Diggers up 10-9. The set was tied at 21-21 before Sugar-Salem closed it out with another kill by Miller. Up by a point, a strong serve by Miller proved the clincher in the final set.
"This is great competition," Dodson said. "This makes us a better team."
Thunder Ridge placed third, downing Bingham 25-19, 25-14. The Titans also beat Bonneville 25-20, 27-25 and Century 25-19, 25-14 during bracket play on Saturday. Kendel Hone had six kills in the third-place match.