Orem • North Summit coach Samantha Stephens never lost faith.
Not even when her team dropped the first two sets by 25-23 scores in its Class 2A state quarterfinal against San Juan at Utah Valley University on Thursday.
Stephens told her senior-laden squad she still believed, and the team rewarded her with a five-set win.
North Summit rallied for 25-13 wins in the third and fourth sets to force a decisive fifth game.
San Juan seemed to regain the momentum by grabbing an 8-5 lead in the fifth set.
That's when North Summit seniors Erica and McKell Richins stepped forward with key kills and serving.
"There wasn't a time tonight where we ever gave up and thought we couldn't win," Erica Richins said. "I don't think any of us really thought about it. We just went out and played."
After the Broncos took that 8-5 lead, Richins put down a huge kill that was followed by Kaitlyn Rowser winning a joust at the net to pull the Braves closer at 8-7.
The Braves finally took the lead 11-10 on a McKell Richins service winner.
The Braves executed to perfection down the stretch to avoid an upset, and they won the fifth game 15-10.
"There was no doubt we were going to finish it once we got on top," Erica Richins said.
Enterprise advances • Top-ranked Enterprise looked every bit like the tournament favorite with a 25-5, 25-9, 25-10 opening-round win over Waterford. South Sevier hung around for a while, but a deep and talented Wolves team gradually assumed authority with a 26-24, 25-19, 25-12 quarterfinal win. The Wolves will clash with North Summit in the semifinals.
Beaver moves on • The Beavers earned a hard-fought 25-20, 21-25, 25-13, 25-19 win over Waterford in their opener.
In the evening semifinals, the Beavers faced a Grand squad that entered as Region 15's No. 4 seed but knocked off Gunnison in the first round. The Beavers outlasted Grand 25-16, 25-14, 17-25, 23-25, 15-10 to advance to the semifinals, where they will face Richfield.
Richfield cruises • The Richfield Wildcats had the easiest path to the semifinals with a 25-13, 25-9, 25-6 win over American Leadership in the first round and a 25-12, 25-16, 25-12 win over Millard in the quarterfinals.
1A, 2A, 3A state volleyball tourney
P Thursday through Saturday
Where • Utah Valley University, Orem