Copper Hills boys volleyball preps for sanctioningMay 02, 2022 09:16PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
Today, boys volleyball is a club sport, organized by the Salt Lake County Recreation Department. In 2023, it will become a sanctioned Utah High School Activities Association sport. Copper Hills has had a competitive team for nearly eight years.
“I have coached these kids for seven years,” Grizzlies head coach Earle Fenstermaker said. “It has been a challenge to keep the team together. Up until last season, we were not allowed to use the school, but the Jordan School District has helped us out, and we are able to practice at the school and have time at West Jordan Middle School.”
The county hosts a competitive league that begins in early March and continues into April. The Utah Boys Volleyball Association is scheduled to host the state tournament May 6–7 at Wasatch High School.
The county high school league is not a super league. The teams must honor eligibility rules. All players must live in the county. They must play for the team representing the school they attend. If there is not a team at the school, players may join any team with coordinator approval.
This season, there were 16 teams from Salt Lake Valley. In the last full volleyball season (2019), Bingham won the state championship. In 2015, there were 24 club teams in the state. In 2021, there were 56 registered teams. Of the UHSAA schools, 57% are currently represented by a boys club team.
“I think sanctioning is great. I am excited for the boys,” Fenstermaker said. “They have always wanted to be representatives of the school. Club volleyball is very competitive, and I think high school teams will be a step-down, giving more boys the opportunity and expand the number of players.”
The boys game can be very athletic; it is fast with lots of power.
“Our games do not have long rallies like the girl's game,” Fenstermaker said. “We are not as good at passing as they are.”
The Grizzlies came into the region tournament as the fifth-seeded team. They finished the regular season 17-7 overall. In the tournament, they defeated East in the first match and lost to Skyline in the second round. In the consolation bracket, they defeated Paradigm, Mountain Ridge, Bingham and Corner Canyon.
This year's team has three seniors and a mixture of underclassmen, including a freshman that plays significant time, Cooper Varner.
“Copper is going to be phenomenal when he gets older,” Fenstermaker said.
Davis McCurdy is a left-handed opposite outside hitter. He has received offers to continue playing after high school.
“I think we have the best libero in the state, and I have a setter with a crazy jump serve,” Fenstermaker said.
Spencer Maruji is a senior leader of the team. As a libero, his main job is to pass the ball into the offense.
“We are a very well-rounded team,” Fenstermaker said. “The boys are awesome; they work hard and are super competitive.”
This year’s team includes Varner, Davis McCurdy, Eric Hammond, Ian Allgrunn, Jevaun Harris, Kielan Gasu, Mitchell Barney, Porter Jensen, Raife Mayhew, Maruji and Terran Black. They play twice a week from mid-March through May.