Clipper Sports Editor
CLEARFIELD – Just two days after battling Bountiful for first place in Region 6, the Woods Cross volleyball team was tested Thursday with another tough region match against Clearfield.
Having to once again defend first place in the region, the Wildcats were able to take down Clearfield in four sets. The win also extended the Wildcats’ winning streak to six games.
“They’re playing very well as a team,” said Wildcats coach Stefani Jensen. “They’re staying mentally strong, which is the best thing our team has this season.”
The Wildcats took the first set 25-22, and then jumped out to a big lead in the second set thanks to good defense and solid overall play.
Bryli Knell, the Wildcats’ setter, picked up eight assists and a service ace in the set. Jessica Jensen and McKenzie Bird were the beneficiaries of Knell’s play, picking up a combined five kills. Bailee Barton knocked down a kill to finish the second set for a 2-0 lead.
“She’s made our offensive game really tough,” said Jensen. “She’s a great leader, and she’s able to take control of the court. The players have all the confidence in her, which makes them better.”
Woods Cross took the initial lead in the third set as well, but fell 25-21. The Wildcats quickly took advantage of their lead in the fourth set, grabbing an 10-5 lead. A pair of four-hit violations gave Woods Cross a 12-6 lead, and Clearfield mounted a short comeback to pull to within five points.
After a time out, Woods Cross took seven of the next 11 points for a 19-13 lead. Knell set up kills for Jensen, Lexi Lewis and Bird, and Barton got a solo block for a 16-11 lead.
A service ace by Lewis and a couple of Clearfield errors helped the Wildcats sustain their lead. After Barton picked up a kill for a Woods Cross’ 23rd point, Knell and Lewis combined to get the final two points to end the match.
“We’re going to keep working on our mental game and our defense, and work on being more aggressive at the net,” said Jensen. “It all amounts to a lot of hard work, but we can get it done as a team.”
At 6-0 in Region 6, Woods Cross holds a full two-game lead over Clearfield, Judge Memorial and Bountiful. The Wildcats will face Judge Memorial Tuesday afternoon at Judge Memorial High School.