By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – After winning games against Phillipsburg, West Yellowstone and White Sulphur Springs, the Lone Peak volleyball team boasts a 2-0 conference record, 3-0 overall, leading into what’s shaping up to be a promising season.
Lone Peak head coach Missy Botha said there are still areas for improvement—namely back row movement and overall communication—but she’s encouraged by the cohesiveness and chemistry the Big Horns have demonstrated thus far.
“[This is] a very fun team,” Botha said. “They’ve been together a very long time. They have a chemistry off the court that translates well on the court.”
White Sulphur Springs gave the Big Horns a run for their money in the first set of their Sept. 9 matchup in Big Sky, riding a late wave of scoring momentum to claim the set 28-26.
The Big Horns found a rhythm in the second set, going hit-for-hit with the Hornets. A long series of volleys with remarkable offensive plays, matched by equally impressive defensive answers, marked the second set. Junior defensive specialist Kodi Boersma led the team in digs with five.
Junior middle hitter Solae Swenson, a towering figure at the net with a powerful—if sometimes too powerful—spiking ability, put her impressive vertical leap on display throughout the night.
“Solae’s middle hitting is ferocious and she’s just a joy to watch when she puts down a huge hit,” coach Botha said. Swenson and junior outside hitter Brooke Botha, who led the team in kills with 10, had a worthy opponent in the Hornets.
“They’re a good digging team,” coach Botha said. “Just when you think you’ve got a point, all of the sudden the ball comes right back up.”
A string of unreturned serves by libero Brynn Iskendarian, who led the Big Horns in the aces column with five, helped Lone Peak pull ahead in the middle of the set on the way to a 25-17 finish.
Serving proved to be an important component of the Big Horn victory; in the third set, a 10-point surge with senior setter Kuka Holder at the service line helped Lone Peak claim another set. Holder led the team in assists with 10.
The fourth, final set in the game was another close one with the Big Horns taking it 25-21. Botha said although she experienced some anxiety before the team found their rhythm, she’s pleased with the win. “They came together well,” she said.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time but I tell you what, this is a very promising group of girls and I think we’re going to go pretty deep into the season,” Botha said.
The Big Horns play a road game at Gardiner on Saturday, Sept. 16, followed by two home games. They’ll face off against Belgrade on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. and play Manhattan Christian at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21, for the LPHS Homecoming game.