Sugar-Salem's volleyball team poses for a photo after winning the Star Valley tournament Saturday.

Sugar-Salem’s volleyball team poses for a photo after winning the Star Valley tournament Saturday.

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After losing in the Championship match against Highland last weekend, Sugar-Salem’s volleyball team capitalized on a bounce-back opportunity at the Star Valley tournament this by weekend winning the Championship.

Like many tournaments this year, Star Valley had many fewer participants than usual. The smaller number of teams meant each team played two other teams in their pool they faced off against the team that ranked the same as them in the other pool. First place faced first place, second place faced second place and third place faced third place. Sugar was the only non- Wyoming team in the tournament.

“It was a very modified tournament like a lot of the other tournaments that we’re going to because COVID’s just crazy,” said Sugar-Salem head coach Cami Dodson.

The Diggers beat Evanston 25-17; 25-16 then beat Pinedale, who took third in state last year in Wyoming 3A last season 25-23 and 25-20.

The hometown Star Valley team won the other pool over Cokeville and Kemmerer.

Sugar won the first set 25-22, lost the second set 25-14 and won the third set 25-21.

“In the championship, our block was crucial,” Dodson said. “Our front line really went to work. Natalyah Nead, Mardee Fillmore, Kim Pannell and Katie Miller on the outsides. They really contributed to keeping and aggressive block so it would with force errors or we’d get the block.”

The whole team impressed Dodson in the tournament.

“Scotlynd Barr, played great all day,” Dodson said. “She hustled she worked hard and kept the tempo up and we faced some really great hitters. And my setter, Hailey made some great plays for our offensive hitters. Overall, we’re loaded with hitters and it’s fun to see them mix the ball up. It was really a team effort.”

Dodson said facing a few Wyoming teams who they don’t typically otherwise see was refreshing.

“Honestly, I love this tournament,” Dodson said. “They usually have a lot more teams there. They usually have a few Idaho teams. That’s the main reason we go — it’s a great high level of competition. And it’s just awesome to get a feel for different teams, different defenses, different offenses. It like a breath of fresh air because a lot of the tournaments here (in Idaho) we end up playing a lot of the same teams.”

Dodson said her team improved a lot of the weaknesses they found in last week’s tournament.

“We’re still working on some things,” Dodson said. “This exposed a few of them because we were playing different schools a little more aggressive in some ways. There were a couple of glitches we worked out, a couple things we had been working on through the week. Now we go back to the drawing board with new things to work on. That’s kind of how the season goes. They’re exhausting but they also show you the things you kind of need to clean up.”

Sugar-Salem is set to match up with Star Valley once again on Tuesday in Sugar City.

“We play Star Valley at home on Tuesday,” Dodson said. “They’re like ‘we’re ready for the rematch.’ I’m like, ‘oh gosh.’ So that should be a good match for us on Tuesday.”