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Sandy Journal

Jordan volleyball team works hard on overcoming challenges, improving

Sep 11, 2023 12:26PM ● By Josh McFadden

Last season, as part of Class 5A’s Region 8, the Jordan Beetdiggers went 0-12 in league play and 6-15 overall. The season was a struggle, but there is still optimism this year. 

The Beetdiggers are now members of Class 4A’s Region 10 with new foes Stansbury, Murray, Tooele, Cottonwood, Hillcrest and Park City. Though geographically it’s a spread-out region, which can be difficult to manage, the opposition should be less daunting than it has been. 

Despite recent struggles, Jordan has a positive outlook on the new campaign. 

“We are in a new region, so I expect [the players] to show up and compete against these new teams,” head coach Crystal Nye said. “I expect them to give every game everything they've got.”

Nye believes the players are improving, and she is eager to see them continue to get better, enjoy playing with one another and overcoming obstacles. 

“I'm most excited to see the athlete progress—to watch them grow as a team, face hard things, overcome, share in wins and losses, be there for each other,” she said. “Being part of a team is a unique experience, and I'm excited to see what they can make of it.”

Five of Jordan’s six starters are seniors. These players include outside hitter Avery Lavaka, setter Kylee McDonald, middle blocker Ella Blackburn, libero Taylor Hilton and pin hitter Abby Barron. Junior outside hitter Brooke Hatch rounds out the starting lineup. 

Tough times and unfavorable results have not deterred these determined girls, Nye said.

“Our strengths are fight, hustle and resilience,” she said. “These athletes have been through a lot—as individuals and as a program. That bonds them together and gives them a unique power.”

It has been awhile since Jordan volleyball has finished high in region standings or won a lot of games. Nye is trying to change that by improving the culture around the program. She has seen signs of success in that regard and is optimistic that this season could be a turning point. 

“Before I took over for head coach, the program had high turnover in coaches, which makes it hard to have a successful program,” she said. “I am working to overcome this by putting in the time, effort and energy into creating a competitive and successful program.”

Jordan started the season with a pair of wins in its first three games. After losing to East 3-1 on Aug. 15, the Beetdiggers shut out Judge Memorial 3-0 on Aug. 17 and then defeated Kearns 3-1 on Aug. 22. That was already halfway to last season’s total with 13 matches left. 

To be more competitive this season in their new region, the Beetdiggers need to play as a single unit and trust one another, Nye said. She also said they need to focus on this season and not dwell on what has taken place before.

“The athletes need to come together and play as a team,” she said. “They need to put themselves and the past aside to create the season they are capable of.”

The final game of the regular season is Oct. 10. The 4A state tournament is the second week of October. 

“I'm proud of these athletes,” Nye said. “I'm proud of where they have come and the work they are putting in to create the future that they want. They are good athletes on the court and amazing humans off the court. I'm proud to be the coach of Jordan volleyball.” λ