J.V. tops Gardiner, falls to Ennis
By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak Lady Big Horns volleyball team entered their Homecoming matchup on Oct. 1 against the Gardiner Bruins—they had not beaten their foes in four years. LPHS snapped the losing skid however, defeating Gardiner in straight sets and winning their ninth match of the season.
“When they have a challenge in front of them they rise to it, so that’s exactly what they did,” said Lady Big Horns head coach Missy Botha.
Emotions ran high for Lone Peak from the start. Nerves may have overcome them to begin the game, allowing the Bruins to score five unanswered points in the opening set. Botha took a timeout to settle her squad—it worked.
“They had jet fuel in their veins at that point because they were just so amped up to play. So, they took a nice deep breath [and] I had them do some foot fire in the huddle,” Botha said. “… It was more about getting their minds into the game and after that it was like a freight train.”
Out of the timeout sophomore Maddie Cone delivered LPHS’s first kill of the evening and sent the small but mighty crowd in attendance into a frenzy. Fellow sophomore Jessie Bough followed up Cone’s kill with a couple of aces of her own adding to Lone Peak’s momentum. Playing with an energy unrivaled by the Bruins, the Lady Big Horns went on to win the first set 25-18.
Gardiner once again took an early lead in the second set, 6-4, but LPHS quickly seized back control and gained a 7-6 advantage. From there LPHS dominated the remainder of the set, leading by as many as nine points and never relinquishing their lead. The final point of the set came on a serve from senior Ivy Hicks that Gardiner could not return back over the net, giving Lone Peak the 25-16 victory.
The Lady Big Horns jumped out to the early advantage in the final set, scoring the first three points. After each LPHS point, the team celebrated fiercely sensing the elusive win growing ever closer. Once the ball hit the floor marking the match’s final point, the crowd and team were overcome with elation. LPHS won the final set 25-18, ending their four year drought against the bruins and improving to 9-0 on the season.
In an impressive display of team volleyball, statistically Lone Peak had athletes tie for the team lead in every statistical category but one on the evening. Hick led the team with 19 assists and also paced the Lady Big Horns in blocks along with Cone at one apiece. Cone, who also had seven kills shared the team lead in that regard with senior Reilly Germain. Seniors Ruth Blodgett and Chloe Hammond paced LPHS with seven digs each and Hammond also had three aces to lead the team, a mark she shared with freshman Vera Grabow.
“You look at the stat sheet and it’s all over the place and so usually I give out a game ball after every match and I honestly don’t know who to give it to because that was a true team effort,” Botha said.
On Oct. 6 Lone Peak once again put their perfect record on the line when they hosted the Ennis Mustangs. The Lady Big Horns came away victorious yet again extending their unbeaten streak to double digits, winning in four sets, 25-14, 24-26, 25-8, and 25-23.
Hicks led the team with 24 assists, while Hammond paced the team with 17 digs. Cone came away with Lone Peak’s only block of the contest and Germain notched four aces in the victory. Senior Hannah Dreisbach had a strong showing offensively, leading LPHS with eight kills.
The Lady Big Horns (10-0) will play at home for the third consecutive match when they host Twin Bridges on Oct. 10.
Junior Varsity Lady Big Horns split matchups
BIG SKY – Also hosting Gardiner on Oct. 1, the LPHS junior varsity volleyball team started the evening off on the right food, winning in four sets versus the Bruins. Lone Peak was victorious in the opening set 25-14, fell in the second 25-27, won the third 15-9, before clinching the match in the fourth set 15-11.
“They played smart last night which is what we have been practicing,” said LPHS junior varsity head coach Kara Blodgett following the team’s Oct. 1 Homecoming victory. “They adjusted their coverage, they pumped each other up after good and lost points, and their serving was outstanding.”
Five days later on Oct. 6 the J.V. squad fell in straight sets to the Ennis Mustangs, 19-25, 10-25, and 14-16. Similar to the varsity team, the Lady Big Horns will host Twin Bridges in their next game on Oct. 10.