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AAU volleyball team takes second in Vegas
The Riverton Elite AAU volleyball team finished second Sunday in a tournament in Las Vegas. Riverton team members, from left, Kiley Ridgway, Kenisha Muehler, Courtney Olson, Kaitlin Koehn, Kristee Trees, Sydney Lynott and Janis Lawson. Haley Snell was added for the Las Vegas tourney but is not pictured. Photo by Delilah Forever Studies

AAU volleyball team takes second in big Vegas event

Jun 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The Riverton Elite AAU volleyball team lived up to its name on the court.

Riverton completed its season Sunday by placing second in the West Coast AAU volleyball championships in Las Vegas.

The team played in the Under-18 division.

Suzie Koehn and Karley Trees were the two Riverton coaches for the squad.

"I think that the team preformed above their level," Trees said. "We were playing U18 teams, and we were right there with them."

Riverton Elite team members this year were Kenisha Muehler, Janis Lawson, Kiley Ridgway, Kirstee Trees, Haley Snell, Kaitlin Koehn, Sydney Lynott and Courtney Olson.

"They are dedicated," coach Trees said. "They are playing volleyball nine months out of the year."

The coaches figured Riverton traveled at least 10,000 miles during the season. They competed in Billings, Mont., Gillette, Laramie, Casper and Denver.

"They improved on everything," Trees said. "Their serving is phenomenal. The pass is pretty good. Every weekend they grew. By the time they made it to Las Vegas they were there. These girls love the game. They give up a lot to play the game."

The team raised about $6,000 during the season to attend the different tournaments.

"The girls went out and asked for different individual sponsorships from businesses," Koehn said.

Kaitlin Koehn and Snell are the two seniors this year at Riverton High School.

Las Vegas tourney

Riverton played to a 3-3 record in pool play in Las Vegas.

Riverton beat a California team, an Arizona team and a Las Vegas squad.

The Elite lost to a different Arizona team, a New York squad and another California program.

"The Arizona team that we played against, every girl on the team was a graduating senior," Koehn said. "Every member of that eight-member team has signed to play college volleyball. We got really quality volleyball."

In bracket play, Riverton pounded a California team for a spot in the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Riverton knocked off the Vegas Pursuit 17s 25-12, 25-14.

A team called the Utah Ice beat Riverton 25-13, 25-21 in the title game.

"The girls tried to put everything together in the championship match and it just wasn't enough," Koehn said. "The Utah team was a solid team. They had a lot of older girls. They were just a really scrappy team that never gave up on anything."

Riverton made a run at Utah Ice late in the second game.

"Utah had some good hitters," Koehn said. "They also had a really strong defense. They just picked up everything."

Balanced team

"These girls are so willing to learn and they are so coachable," Koehn said.

"They are always ready to listen and ready to grow.

They are good volleyball students."

Ridgway and Muehler are the middle hitters for Riverton.

Olson and Kaitlin Koehn are the setters. Trees played outside hitter and in the back row.

"She was one of our top servers for the year as well," coach Koehn said.

Koehn said Lynott could play everywhere for Riverton.

"She is a great libero and server," Koehn said. "She probably has the best jump serve on the team. Most of the girls couldn't return her serve."

Lawson was on the outside for the Riverton Elite team.

Snell was picked up by the Riverton team before the Las Vegas tournament.

"We have as much depth as you could have with eight people," Koehn said.

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