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West Jordan Journal

Grizzlies, Jaguars place third, fourth at state boys volleyball tournament

May 30, 2022 06:15PM ● By Greg James

By Greg James | [email protected]

The 2022 boys volleyball state championship included crosstown rivals West Jordan and Copper Hills. These teams battled hard for third- and fourth-place finishes this season.

“Fourth overall at state, our boys fought long and hard to get where they are,” West Jordan head coach Paulasi Matavao said. “They made history for our school and the sport's growth.”

Copper Hills defeated West Jordan in three sets 23-25, 25-23, and 15-12. It turned out to be as close as a match could get, both teams played hard in the intense game.

The state finals were held May 6–7 at Wasatch High School in Heber City. Twenty-four teams from across the state began the tournament in hopes of a state title.

West Jordan and Copper Hills lost in the quarterfinals and played each other in the third-place match. The two teams had played several times throughout the season, including just three weeks before at the Salt Lake County high school tournament. West Jordan defeated Copper Hills and then and went on to win that tournament.

“This is big, big, big,” Matavao said before the tournament. “Kids want to know what this sport is like.”

At state, Copper Hills defeated Snow Canyon and Springville before losing to the eventual state runner-up, Olympus. West Jordan defeated Farmington and Lone Peak before losing to Pleasant Grove, the state champion. Springville ended up fifth, and Lone Peak sixth.

“We are a very well-rounded team. The boys are awesome, and they have worked super hard and are super competitive,” Copper Hills head coach Earle Fenstermaker said before the tournament began. “They have always wanted to be representatives of the school.”

Copper Hills finished the regular season with a 17-7 record. It also finished third at the county boys tournament in April.

Boys volleyball will be an officially sanctioned sport in Utah starting in the 2023–24 spring season. According to numbers from the Utah Boys Volleyball Association, there are currently 122 teams representing 64 of the UHSAA member schools. That is an increase of 13% over last year.

Boys volleyball is one of the largest club sports in the state. This season nearly 1,600 boys are registered to play. Currently, 25 states have sanctioned boys volleyball programs; two more are in the stages of deciding.

USA volleyball recently selected Salt Lake City to host the 2023 national championships. BYU is the only Division I university with a men’s team. Sanctioning the sport could force other schools to add the sport.

Boys volleyball will be the fifth addition to the UHSAA sports program since 2016. The UHSAA recently added boys and girls lacrosse, girls wrestling, and competitive cheerleading.

Boys volleyball earned sanctioning status by completing the criteria of the UHSAA emerging sports. The program is designed to help sports earn the opportunity to become supported by the governing body. Each sport is considered after its members host or begins teams in their areas. Sports that are currently on the list for the association include mountain biking, esports, color guard, rodeo, and ultimate frisbee.