Don’t get left out, volleyball is now inMay 02, 2022 09:05PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
Boys high school volleyball teams across the state got a shot in the arm this month. It is now a sanctioned UHSAA sport. West Valley, Kearns and Taylorsville boys, however, would need to organize their teams.
“This is big, big, big,” West Jordan head coach Paulasi Matavao said. “So far this season we have seen a lot of new interest. Kids have been emailing us and coming to our practices. They want to know what it is like.”
Since there are no organized teams in this area, players are forced to join neighboring school teams.
J R Seiuli is a junior at Granger High School. His school does not currently have a boys volleyball team. Under the current county rules if the player's school is not represented he may play for another team with the permission of the team director.
“I have only been playing for three years,” Seiuli said. “This is a competitive sport. I think having high school volleyball will just make it more competitive.”
Seiuli plays with West Jordan. Only 57% of the current UHSAA schools have a boys team. Olympus and Skyline are the only Granite School District schools with current teams.
The sport had been denied sanctioning for the past two years. This time it passed by a 10-4 vote. It was considered under the emerging sports initiative. The other sports under consideration included esports and mountain biking.
“This is a great group of kids,” Matavao said. “They have been working very well together. That seems to be a theme for us this season. I think that has made a big difference. We do have some kids that are still learning how to play.”
The UHSAA will hold its first state championship in the spring season of 2024. The sport of boys volleyball is the fifth sport the association has sanctioned since 2016, preceded by lacrosse, girls wrestling and cheerleading.
Sanctioning will help organize more teams according to local coaches.
“It has been hard to keep the teams together all this time,” Copper Hills boys volleyball coach Earle Fenstermaker said. “We had to rent space to play and practice. This season Jordan School District has been very accommodating. We have been able to use the high school and West Jordan Middle School.”
The Utah Boys Volleyball Association currently sponsors a country recreation high school league. It is not a club or super league season. Salt Lake County Parks and Rec handles the scheduling of the local teams. Salt Lake, Northern, and Utah Valley all play their own independent seasons. The top teams will come together in the state tournament.
Salt Lake County games began in early March; the teams played twice a week through mid-April. The county tournament was held in April; Bingham placed fifth, Corner Canyon fourth, West Jordan, Copper Hills, and Olympus were still in contention at the press deadline.
There is no telling how many schools will have teams in 2024. It may take time to achieve the 138 girls high school teams.
The boys state tournament is scheduled for May 6-7 at Wasatch High School. Bingham is the defending state champion for 2019. The tournament was postponed for two years because of Covid.