LPHS ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

The Lone Peak High School volleyball season is in full swing. Last year, the Big Horns finished eighth place in District 8C and made their first appearance in bracket play of the district tournament. Head Coach Sarah Griffiths has high hopes for the team this year.

“We have a fantastic group of young women,” said Griffiths, now in her fifth season at the helm for the varsity team. “They worked hard all offseason and it’s starting to pay off. We will see them make great strides in district play this season.”

Lone Peak opened their season on Aug. 29 with the second annual Lone Peak Invitational tournament in Big Sky. The tournament featured teams from West Yellowstone, Missoula, Butte, White Sulphur Springs, and Shields Valley, and marked the inauguration of the new gym at Ophir Elementary School.

“It was amazing to have a tournament at our school where we could invite teams outside of our regular schedule,” Griffiths said after the tournament. The Big Horns came out swinging at the tournament, winning their morning pool and finishing sixth overall.

Rowan Merryman looks on as Carter Johnsen spikes the ball during the Big Horn’s junior varsity volleyball game on Sept. 17 at Shields Valley. PHOTO BY MONA LOVELY

Rowan Merryman looks on as Carter Johnsen spikes the ball during the Big Horn’s junior varsity volleyball game on Sept. 17 at Shields Valley. PHOTO BY MONA LOVELY

LPHS began district play in September, and proved a force to be reckoned with in District 11/12C. The team notched big wins over Harrison/Willow Creek, Shields Valley and Gardiner. These games marked the first time in school history the Big Horn volleyball team has notched victories against these three schools.

“Beating Harrison was a huge step for our team, proving to the girls that they can compete and win against the historically dominant teams in our district,” Griffiths said. “Then to follow it up with wins against Shields Valley and Gardiner was an enormous step to propel us to the top half of teams in the league.”

Junior captains Bianca Godoy and Luisa Locker lead the Big Horns this year – as a sophomore, Locker led District 8C players in digs and aces, earning her a spot on the All-Conference team, recognizing her as the top libero – a defensive specialist position – in the district. Sophomore Katie Hoffman and freshman Solae Swenson, newcomers to the varsity squad, are poised to make an immediate impact as middle blockers, Griffiths said.

Sophomores Kuka Holder and Bryn Iskenderian are seeing double-duty as setters and right-side hitters, opening up further offensive potential for LPHS. Junior Bella Butler rounds out the starting lineup for the Big Horns, and both Butler and Godoy are strong outside hitters for the team, Griffiths added.

The Big Horns were in action again on Oct. 1 at home versus West Yellowstone, after EBS went to press. LPHS faces Twin Bridges on Oct. 10 in Big Sky, with games at 2 and 3:30 p.m.