BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
OREM — The Davis Lady Darts volleyball team had one simple goal heading into Saturday morning’s state 5A semi-final game at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center: Repeat as state champs.
But a three-game sweep at the hands of Pleasant Grove in the semi-finals ended all chances of seeing the Darts repeat as state 5A volleyball champions, and they ultimately finished third.
Entering the tournament as the top team in the state, the Darts struggled through the first game by falling behind early in the match. It became a common theme in the match. The Darts dropped the first game 25-20.
The second game didn’t get any better for Davis, which fell behind 2-0 after losing 25-19. The Darts battled through the first few points, gaining a slim lead at times but struggling to build on it. Pleasant Grove mounted a scoring streak that ended the second game with the six-point win.
It was the first time all season that Davis dropped two games in a single match.
The third game was close throughout. The Knights and Darts traded blows and never maintained more than a two to three point lead until the very end.
Ultimately, however, Davis lost for only the second time all season. They dropped the third game 25-21 to fall to the third place match with Lehi.
In a match up of last year’s 5A finals, Davis bounced back from the semi-final loss by taking down the Pioneers 3-1 to earn third place in the tournament. The Darts started off on a torrid pace as they easily won the first game 25-16, then dropped a close 23-25 battle to tie the match at 1-1.
In the third match, the Darts fell behind again, only to bounce back and take the third game 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth game. With third place in sight for Davis, the Darts pummelled the Pioneers 25-11 to finish in the top three.
The third place finish for Davis was the third top three finish for the Darts in the past three seasons. The Darts won the 5A state title last year with a 3-0 win over Lehi and finished third in 2010 after beating Bingham 3-2.
The Darts will have as many as 10 seniors leaving the team after this season, among them include Kaylie Kamalu, Camille Walker, Tanisha Langston, Kendall Sergeant, Jamie Sellineit, Marissa Todd, Tina Turner, Jessica Richardson and April and Amber Bennett.
However, the team could have as many as three seniors and 15 juniors for next year’s squad. The Darts will likely be deep in the bench for the 2013 season.
Overall, the Darts finished 32-2 and had the most wins in all of 5A this season. The Darts also won the region title for the second straight season, posting a 10-0 record in 2012.
Both of the Darts losses were at the hands of Lone Peak, dropping the other match 2-0 during the Rocky Mountain Champions Classic.