Corner Canyon volleyball aiming for top in state
Sep 17, 2018 01:52PM
By Jana Klopsch
Corner Canyon’s Madison Brunatti, who will play for Utah State next year, is a two-time First Team All-State outside hitter returning for the Chargers’ program this season. (Photo courtesy Mindy Wilder)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon High volleyball team is coming off of two top-four finishes in the state the past two seasons and return two All-State players this season in hopes of heading deep into the state tournament.
“We don’t want to just make it to state, we want to take first, and I think we have a good chance to do that,” CCHS senior outside hitter Madison Brunatti said. “We’re pretty stacked as a team and we’re doing really well with each other. Our setters are doing great with knowing our hitters and there’s just a good chemistry on our team.”
Brunatti, a two-time First Team All-State outside hitter who recorded nearly 500 kills the past two seasons, along with Honorable Mention All-State senior libero Mikayla Kimball, junior middle blocker Grace Anderson — a Second Team All-Region selection in 2017 — and sophomore outside hitter Baylee Bodily — who was an Honorable Mention All-Region honoree — are expected to lead the Chargers this season.
“Our seniors, Madi, Mikayla, and Meghann Brannelly have really stepped into the leadership role on the court,” said head coach Mindy Wilder. “They lead by example and have created a positive and hard-working environment for our team.”
Junior Emma Bagley and sophomore Gracie Moore are being worked into the rotation at the setter position while sophomore right side hitter Brooklyn Leggett, who was a contributor off the bench last season, is “having a huge impact on our team,” said Wilder.
“We look good,” said Wilder, who is in her fourth year as head coach. “The girls put a lot of time in over the summer and have come back stronger and ready to play.”
During the off-season, the Corner Canyon squad focused on cross-training and gaining strength in the weight room while recovering from the high school and club seasons.
“The girls were hungry to get back in the gym,” Wilder said. “We want another region title.”
Brunatti, who will play for Utah State next fall, said the team has “amped it up a lot more” in trying to continuously improve to be there at the end. “It’s going to take a lot of grit, focus and determination to reach our goals, but this team can definitely do it,” she said.
Also on the CCHS squad this season are Honorable Mention All-Region sophomore Lindsay Matsuura; juniors Maddy McAfee, Lauryn Nichols and Emma White; sophomores Emilee Anselmo, Karen Crapo and Halle Richards; and freshmen Ellee Moore.
“We have a very young team this year, so we have been watching for natural leaders to evolve,” Wilder said. “Even though we are young, we will be working hard to compete at the state tournament. We have so much talent.”
Wilder is assisted by Keri Anderson, Aubree Moore, Sara Dumas and Whitney Bassett on the coaching staff.
So far this season, the Chargers’ varsity squad took first place in the gold bracket of the Dixie Flyer Tournament in St. George among 32 teams Aug. 24–25. The JV team lost in the bronze bracket’s semifinals playing against varsity teams. The sophomores competed in a Pleasant Grove tournament Aug. 22–23. “They did well,” Wilder said. “They started figuring out their rotations and started working together really well.”
“It was a great weekend for all our Charger teams,” Wilder said.
The third-ranked team in the state also defeated Riverton 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 Aug. 16 and Timpanogos 26-24, 25-16, 25-21 Aug. 30.
Against Pleasant Grove Sept. 6, Corner Canyon lost in three sets 20-25, 25-27, 13-25. “We had some really good moments,” Wilder said. “We need to work on our consistency. It’s still early in the season and I saw some huge improvements.”
Corner Canyon is also scheduled to face Bingham Sept. 11 before Region 7 play begins with home-and-away matches against Cottonwood, Brighton, Timpview, Alta and Jordan. The Chargers will also play in the Varsity Wasatch Festival at Skyridge Oct. 12–13. The 5A state tournament will be held Nov. 1, 3 at Utah Valley University.