By Brandon Walker EBS STAFF
CHARLO, MT. – On the road for a match for the fourth time in seven days, the Lone Peak High School Lady Big Horns faced the Charlo Vikings on Nov. 9 with the victor punching their ticket to the state volleyball tournament. The Vikings surfaced victorious following a competitive match, winning three sets to one—25-19, 26-24, 18-25 and 25-21—ending the Lady Big Horns’ season.
“I think if we played them again, we’d win and then they’d win the next one and we’d probably go back and forth for a long time,” said LPHS Head Coach Missy Botha. “It was very evenly matched.”
In their final game in a Lone Peak uniform, seniors Hannah Dreisbach, Ivy Hicks and Chloe Hammond all led the team in one statistical category. Dreisbach paced LPHS with her nine kills in the match, Hicks pitched in 26 assists, and Hammond added 22 digs. Junior TJ Nordahl made her presence known at the net, leading the Lady Big Horns with four blocks against the Vikings, while sophomore Maddie Cone found her touch serving the ball, accounting for five of the team’s 13 aces.
“Even though they lost it was one of those games where you come off the court knowing that you’ve put it all out there [and] you’ve played your best,” Botha said.
LPHS came into the contest with Charlo having fallen to Manhattan Christian in straight sets on Nov. 7 in the Western Class-C divisional volleyball tournament championship, while Charlo advanced to face Lone Peak by defeating Hot Springs in straight sets that same evening.
The Lady Big Horns season was historic with the team advancing farther in the postseason than any other volleyball team in Lone Peak history, and they did so having previously dealt with a pause of their season due to a two week COVID-19 quarantine. LPHS concluded the regular season with a nearly flawless 11-1 record, highlighted by a victory over rival Gardiner—the team’s first victory against the Bruins in four years—with the lone blemish coming after the two week layoff at the hands of Manhattan Christian.
After a busy postseason schedule, Lone Peak concluded the year with a 15-4 overall record and third place finishes at both the district and divisional tournaments. The Lady Big Horns will graduate six athletes from this season’s team—Dreisbach, Hicks, Hammond, Reilly Germain, Nadia Benjdid and Ruth Blodgett.
“It was tough because these seniors, you know, they gifted me with this historic season and gave me some of the best times of my life,” Botha said of watching the six LPHS seniors leave the court one last time.
Botha continued to thank LPHS Athletic Director John Hannahs, her coaching staff including, Kara Blodgett, Krisy Hammond and Bailey Dowd and the parents of the athletes for their continued support throughout the season.
“It has been unbelievable seeing them grow into such great competitors. But not only that, wonderful young ladies,” Botha said of the seniors.