By Tyler Allen EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School volleyball team nearly won its 11th straight match on Oct. 24 to secure a third seed in the District 8C tournament.

The Big Horns fell to White Sulphur Springs in Big Sky two matches to three, but still finished with the fifth-year program’s best regular season to date.

The 12-4 Big Horns entered the District 8C tournament as the fourth seed on Oct. 29 and lost to No. 5 Gardiner at Manhattan Christian. They rebounded Oct. 30 with a 3-0 victory over Shields Valley, but were knocked out of the tournament later that day with a 3-2 loss to White Sulphur Springs.

However, the Big Horns improved from an eighth seed last year, and early in the season it was obvious to LPHS Head Coach Sarah Griffiths that this team was destined to make their mark.

“We had a group of juniors playing together for their third [season] and the chemistry this year clicked,” Griffiths said on the eve of the tournament. “I am truly awestruck about this season so far.”

LPHS recorded a big win early on when they traveled to Shields Valley on Sept. 17 and defeated the Rebels, a team they hadn’t previously beaten in school history, 3-2.

“That really opened [their] eyes as to what was possible, and that they could compete with these teams,” Griffiths said. They also beat three-time defending state champions Gardiner on Sept. 26, another boost to the Big Horn confidence. The team’s 2015 statistics compared to last year demonstrate their improvement.

LPHS increased their kills from 297 to 410; blocks improved from 36 to 44.5; they had 715 digs this season compared to 362 last year; and assists improved from 195 to 403. They also earned significant individual accolades in 2015.

Luisa Locker led the league with 289 digs, Bianca Godoy was fifth with 148, and Bella Butler was fourth with 123. Solae Swanson was second with 103 kills and Bella Butler was fourth with 87.

Among league leaders in aces were Kuka Holder, Luisa Locker and Bianca Godoy, placing seventh (32), eighth (31) and 10th (30), respectively. Kuka Holder was fourth in assists with 174 and Bryn Iskenderian had 159 for sixth best league-wide.

And without any seniors on this team Griffiths says next year looks bright for LPHS volleyball.

“I think we’re going to have a great season [and] continue to impress people,” she said.