Volleyball 3A: Ogden loses in semifinals, finishes in 4th place in state tournament | News, Sports, Jobs


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The Ogden High volleyball team celebrates reaching the semifinals after defeating South Summit in the State High School Volleyball Tournament at Utah Valley University on Friday, October 28, 2022.

BRIAN NICHOLSON, Special to Standard Examiner

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Ogden High’s Rees Bockwoldt digs a shot through South Summit during the 3A State High School Volleyball Tournament at Utah Valley University on Friday, October 28, 2022.

BRIAN NICHOLSON, Special to Standard Examiner

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Ashley Christensen of Ogden High hits a ball during the 3A Volleyball Semifinals against Richfield on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at Utah Valley University.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner

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Olivia Blackford of Ogden High passes the ball during the 3A Volleyball State Semifinals against Richfield on Saturday, October 29, 2022 at Utah Valley University.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner
















OREM – Ogden High volleyball had a goal to play on the last day of the season, Saturday, October 29, the day of the semifinals and the state championship.

The Tigers pulled off a late-night four-setter to beat area foe South Summit on Friday in the quarter-finals and indeed advanced to the semi-finals on Saturday, the final day of the season. Then they came up against two very good teams.

No. 3 Ogden lost to No. 2 Richfield in four sets in their semi-final on Saturday morning, 25-20, 15-25, 20-25, 20-25, then fell in five sets to No. #12 Emery in the third-ranking game later in the afternoon, finishing fourth in the tournament.

In the words of the players, however, all was well at the end of the line.

“It’s just bittersweet,” said senior Rees Bockwoldt. “I wouldn’t call it a failure at all, the top four in 3A is a big deal.”

“Obviously it’s hard to lose, but it’s not just the loss of a game, it’s the loss of all our teammates and friendships and everything we’ve built in the last year,” said senior Olivia Blackford.

The Tigers looked dead in the water early against Emery, losing the first two sets 25-15 and 25-11 before making a promising comeback attempt by winning the third and fourth sets 25-17 and 25-17.

Emery won the fifth set 15-11, ending the final match for a senior Ogden class that has helped turn the schedule over the past four years.

“We have a lot of experience, but not that experience, we haven’t been to date, so I thought we fought, I thought we played hard,” OHS Brad Hulse said.

Hulse praised the four-person senior group of Soledad VanOrden, Olivia Blackford, Rees Bockwoldt and Ashley Christensen for what they have done for the program.

“Twenty-two wins is a tough thing to do, I hate to see that,” Hulse said.

Ogden (22-9) had a good thing early against Richfield, winning the first set 25-20, then 6-1 in the second set. The Wildcats relied on 6-foot-4 outside hitter Nicole Willardson and slowly picked up the game, sending Ogden to the game for third place.

The semifinal berth this year represented the furthest state tournament on the schedule in at least 20 years. Ogden’s last state volleyball championship triumph was in 1983, according to the UHSAA record books. In 2004, 2005 and 2021, the Tigers reached the state quarterfinals, but no further.

“It’s always, ‘Oh, Ogden’, you know,” Bockwoldt said in a dull voice, “but now it’s like, ‘Oh, Ogden. He’s not the underdog anymore,'” a- she declared in a happy voice.

“We talked about it in the locker room, it was weird coming in as the third seed… we almost have a target on our back? And it was weird because it never happened,” Bockwoldt said.

It can be difficult for some volleyball teams to come off the mat after a semi-final loss and get up to play a third/fourth place game an hour later, even if they’ve never been this far. Bockwoldt, Blackford and Hulse all said it was hard for Ogden to find the motivation to play the third-place game.

Against Emery, the Tigers struggled to hit anything beyond the Spartans’ block early on and likewise struggled to block Emery’s hitters.

The Tigers did better in the third set taking a 13-12 lead at one point instead of losing 18-6 like in the second.

That lead was in the middle of a 16-1 run that turned an 11-7 deficit into a 23-12 lead and a 25-16 win. Twelve straight points came on Blackford’s serve.

Also in the third set, Ogden hit more from the middle and the ball started to find the ground. The comeback was alive and well in the fourth with a 25-17 win, but Emery sealed the deal in the fifth.

Connect with journalist Patrick Carr via email at [email protected], Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.



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