By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – A sea of black clothes filled the bleachers in the Bough-Dolan Athletic Center at the Lone Peak High School varsity volleyball homecoming game on Friday night. The evening also marked the final day of spirit week, themed blackout, leading up to the homecoming dance on Oct. 9.
Fans were excited to watch the Big Horns earn their fifth season win in their three-game match against the Harrison/Willow Creek Wildcats.
The Big Horns took the court with high energy bolstered by the cheering crowd. LPHS sophomore left side hitter Vera Grabow served first and racked up a few points quickly. Junior left side hitter Maddie Cone, a dominant force at the net all season, struck with an early kill and her teammates doing great defensive work at the net.
After a four-point Lone Peak run, Harrison called a timeout in the hopes of stopping the relentless Big Horn attacks. The younger Wildcat squad struggled throughout the evening to play defense and gain a foothold against the Big Horns’ momentum.
The Big Horns asserted control of the game with another kill and ace by Cone and aces by junior defensive specialist Haley Houghteling.
Halfway through the first game junior libero Jessie Bough went on a commanding serving streak logging three aces and forcing another Wildcat timeout with the score at 16-5 in favor of the Big Horns.
Grabow contributed some critical kills and aces to help bring the Big Horns in to their 25-13 win in the first game.
The Wildcats showed fight early in the second game, trading points with the Big Horns in a close contest. Once LPHS found their rhythm however, they pulled ahead with a commanding lead.
Showing the court awareness that has been a strength all season, senior middle blocker TJ Nordahl went to work at the net tipping the ball into the holes in the Wildcats’ defense.
After a timeout by Harrison early on, Bough took over serving for the Big Horns delivering ace after ace building them a 17-7 lead. Bough ended the evening with a total of seven aces.
Junior setter Emily Graham served the Big Horns to the end of the second game contributing her own ace to the final score of 25-8 LPHS.
Where in earlier season home games the Big Horns struggled to keep momentum throughout the entire match, they showed maturity and mental persistence, bringing effective offense into the third game. The Big Horns’ steady lead allowed for two younger players, sophomore Dylan Klein and sophomore Emerson Tatom, to take the court and gain valuable varsity experience.
Cone continued to send devastating attacks across the net ultimately logging nine kills for the evening.
Grabow and Nordahl contributed to the relentless offense with consistent serves and tricky tips respectively.
LPHS never let up the pressure building a 19-6 lead over the Wildcats and forcing another timeout meant to disrupt their momentum.
The tension in the gym grew with students loudly cheering the Big Horns as the third game neared its conclusion. At 24-8 the Big Horns briefly faltered making a few mistakes that allowed the Wildcats to fight back scoring six points. Ultimately LPHS prevailed ending the game with a score of 25-14 to deafening cheers.
“I want to thank all the other students for coming to the game the student section made a huge impact in cheering us on,” said Assistant Coach Bailey Dowd. “It’s really fun to celebrate homecoming week in such a positive way and we look forward to cheering on the football team after this as well.”
The Big Horn’s record is 5-5. Lone Peak will play the White Sulphur Springs Hornets on Oct. 15 for their Senior Night game.