Bingham volleyball coach reflects on 2018 season, looks forward to the future
Jan 09, 2019 10:52AM
By Josh McFadden
Bingham players prepare for a serve during the quarterfinals against Syracuse. The Miners finished third in Region 4, behind eventual state champions Lone Peak and runners-up Pleasant Grove. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
It was a season of streaks for the Bingham volleyball team. The squad had plenty of bright moments and a few setbacks, but ultimately, the Miners put together a solid year.
Bingham went 19-10 overall, with five of those losses coming against out-of-state opponents in tournaments. The Miners competed in the challenging Region 4, which included Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove, who met for the Class 6A championship. Bingham placed second in the region with a record of 5-3.
The season, which spanned from Aug. 23 through Nov. 3, had some positive moments that head coach Melissa Glasker will remember fondly for years to come. She guided the Miners to the semifinals where they eventually fell in the third-place game to Copper Hills.
“We had a great season,” Glasker said. “I was extremely proud of my kids this year. They believed in the process, trusted their coaches and worked extremely hard in every facet of the game. The kids did everything we asked them, trying to be the very best players they could be as well as good actual ‘people.’”
The Miners entered the season in their second year of 6A competition on the heels of an 18-7 mark in 2017.
With some big tournaments early in the year, the Miners got the kinks out in a pair of victories to start off the season. Bingham got past Judge Memorial 3-0 in the season opener and edged Fremont 3-2 in game two on Aug. 28. Bingham rallied from a 2-1 hole in that game and overcame a rough outing in set two where it lost 25-6.
In between regular season tournament action, the Miners went 4-0 against in-state foes Skyline, Corner Canyon, American Fork and Westlake between Sept. 6 and Sept. 20. The team showed its dominance in the contests by sweeping all four opponents. Two of those games, Corner Canyon and American Fork, were early region matches.
The team had the opportunity to travel to Huntington Beach, California, to participate in the Dave Mohs Tournament. Here, the Miners matched up against seven schools from the Golden State in a grueling two-day tournament, Aug. 31–Sept. 1.
In best-of-three (instead of the typical best-of-five) matches, Bingham won its first two outings, 2-1 over Eldorado High School and 2-0 over Santa Fe Christian. Those two victories put the Miners at 4-0 on the young season. The competition heated up after that, as the Miners dropped four in a row. The fourth loss was a 2-0 setback to host Huntington Beach High School.
Bingham capped off the tournament with a 2-0 win over Murrieta Valley.
Despite a tough stretch in the tournament, Glasker loved the experience. She not only enjoyed the matches and watching her team compete with some excellent foes from a volleyball-rich state, but she said being on the road with the girls was a bonding opportunity.
“We played tremendously well all year, but by far our tournament to California was one of my most favorite things to do with these kids,” she said. “I love being away with them, getting to know them and sharing their life experiences with them. I will cherish those memories.”
Bingham wrapped up its non-region slate by hosting the Claim Jumper Tournament Sept. 28–29. Once again, the Miners saw some unfamiliar opponents, this time from their neighbors to the north in Idaho. In this tournament, however, Bingham also matched up with some squads from Utah.
The Miners fared well in the six-game tournament, going 5-1. Glasker’s group swept Idaho Falls and Salem Hills 3-0 and then beat Ridgeline and Century (Idaho) 2-0. The Miners’ only loss in the tournament came at the hands of Skyview (Idaho) in the second-to-last match by the count of 2-0. Bingham finished on a high note with a 2-0 victory over Region 1 school Syracuse.
The stakes got higher beginning on Oct. 2 when the Miners entered the meat of their Region 4 schedule. Bingham had a 2-0 head start in the eight-game schedule.
The Miners lost to eventual 6A champion Lone Peak 3-1 before picking up a trio of 3-0 sweeps. The victims were Pleasant Grove, American Fork and Westlake. On Oct. 23, Pleasant Grove got revenge by defeating the Miners 3-1. After another 3-1 loss to Lone Peak, the Miners were ready for postseason action, having grabbed the No. 2 seed in the region.
State tournament time
A year earlier, Bingham placed third in Region 4 but advanced to the state semifinals. There was no reason to think the Miners couldn’t duplicate the feat this time around.
And that’s precisely what happened.
In similar fashion to 2017, Bingham won its first-round match with Herriman 3-2 and then disposed of Syracuse 3-1. That brought on a familiar foe, Pleasant Grove. In a turnaround from the teams’ first meeting of the year, Pleasant Grove swept the Miners 3-0 in the semifinals to knock them down to the third-place match.
The third-place match against Copper Hills was tied at two games apiece after Bingham stayed alive by winning set 4 by the count of 25-19. But Copper Hills took the final set 15-9 to capture third place in a game played at Utah Valley University.
There were plenty of contributors to this year’s squad. Glasker singled out Journey Tupea as someone she could always rely on to make a big play and provide an example to the other girls.
“[Tupea] was my most consistent athlete and by far the best leader a coach could ask for,” Glasker said. “You need someone that completely buys in to the program to help lead your team. She was focused every day and gave me the best that she could every time out at practice and at games.”
Hannah Thompson was a key factor in the team’s success. Glasker said she was also the most improved.
“[Thompson] was a complete turnaround from a year ago,” she said. “She wasn’t even in our starting rotation last year. This athlete made huge strides not just as an athlete but as a competitor. She worked tirelessly on her mental game and was really a go to for us this year.”
Seniors Ava Rassmussen and Sisi Kaili brought talent and experience to the squad but also helped foster an attitude of teamwork and togetherness.
“Both of these girls really added to our overall senior group with leadership and camaraderie,” Glasker said. “It was really fun to watch them interact with the kids and bring kids in. They were definitely contributors on the team but more in how they brought the team together.”
Glasker is optimistic about the future of the program. The Miners will return some talent to the court as they look to compete for a region crown and once again make an impact at state.
“I think we will be solid next year,” she said. “I have a tremendous group of kids coming back with the same mentality as this group. The seniors from our 2017 season have really set the tone for what is expected within our program, and these kids are carrying on with the same mindset. I have high hopes for next year, too, and am excited to see what they can do.”