By Jack Reaney EBS STAFF WRITER
The Lone Peak Lady Big Horns fought hard against the Ennis Mustangs on Friday night but came up short in what will likely be the last Class C Volleyball meeting of Ennis and Lone Peak. Both programs will move to Class B next year.
“Ennis is always a tough matchup,” said head coach Bailey Dowd, who expressed pride in the Big Horns’ overall effort. “But we enjoy playing them––it’s great competition.”
The Big Horns fall to 4-2 in conference play.
In a best-of-five match, Ennis edged Lone Peak in the first set, 25-23. The energy in the gymnasium was high from fans and players as the Big Horns nearly closed a 24-21 gap, until a controversial over-the-net technicality stopped their set-tying effort and granted an automatic point for Ennis.
In this first set, the Mustangs roared to a 10-1 lead. But the Big Horns won a long rally to bring the score to 10-3, and momentum shifted their way as they won eight of the next 10 points.
“Throughout the sets, I don’t know that it felt like we were down as much as we were,” said coach Dowd, “because the girls were able to keep their energy high.” The Big Horns went back and forth with the Mustangs during the second set, holding nothing larger than a three-point lead until a spike from junior Ella Meredith gave them a 17-14 lead and excited the crowd. They celebrated a 25-19 set win, and the match was tied 1-1.
In the third set, each team took turns winning three or four points at a time. Trailing 9-6, Big Horn senior Maddie Cone saved an errant bump, hitting an over-the-head, crosscourt kill. But when the Big Horns brought the score to 14-11, the Mustangs pulled away, winning nine of the next 10 points to extend their lead to 23-12. The Mustangs won the third set, 25-14.
The fourth set was more of the same, with the Big Horns playing from behind. Down 20-13, just five points away from defeat, the Big Horns showed another surge of momentum. After a block brought the Big Horns to a 21-19 deficit, the Mustangs scored and then traded point-for-point until they won the fourth and final set, 25-21.
Lone Peak lost the match, but spirits were high after a strong team effort.
“[Senior] Jessie Bough had a killer night,” coach Dowd said. “She played really great defense and hustled a ton. Maddie Cone did a good job mixing it up between hard driven tips and roll shots. Our middle blockers did a good job blocking––blocking can really change the momentum of the game.”
“Thank you to everyone who comes,” Dowd added. “The students do a really great job of supporting each other. It’s good to see the soccer girls here, and some middle schoolers. We’re really happy that we have such a supportive group of people around us.”