Lone Peak volleyball continues hot streak with win against Salem Hills
When defending Class 6A champion Lone Peak lost its first two matches, nobody in maroon and gold panicked.
Opening the season 0-2 is not a situation the Knights often find themselves, but they’ve worked their way out of it.
Lone Peak has won four in a row since that rocky start, including Tuesday’s 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 23-25, 25-21) victory against 5A contender Salem Hills.
Outside hitters Emeline Hudson (22 kills) and Jayda Tupea (17) are taking on much more of the Knights offense since last year’s Daily Herald Player of the Year, Lauren Jardine, is playing at Wisconsin.
“We started off a little rough,” Hudson said. “We don’t have on dominant hitter so everyone has to work as a team. Once everything comes together I think we’re going to do some really good things.”
Lone Peak (4-2) pulled away in Set 1 behind the offense of Tupea, then rolled to a 9-0 lead in Set 2 as Hudson got hot. Hudson’s fifth kill of the set pushed the Knights lead to 12-1.
“Early on this season our production on the outside with passing and hitting was not where it needed to be,” Knights coach Reed Carlson said. “We definitely challenged the outsides (Hudson and Tupea) to step up their game. We started focusing a little more on helping them in practice in isolated situations about what they were seeing on the court. Going into our third match they had a different mindset and they both played probably the best volleyball outsides can play against Timpview. That’s carried on to our next matches.”
Salem Hills (1-2) battled back in Set 3 behind middle blocker Taylor Snow and outside hitter Tessa Treanor. A combo block by Snow and Treanor tied the set at 15 and the Skyhawks took an 18-15 lead on a Lone Peak net violation. Later, Snow blasted a kill for a 24-22 lead and two serves later, a Knights hitting error finished a 25-23 victory for Salem Hills.
The Skyhawks rode the momentum into the fourth set and took a 5-1 lead on an Ella Keisel kill. Lone Peak rallied at led 18-14 on a an ace from Devyn Nifo. Salem Hills closed to 20-19 when Treanor went off the block but the Knights grabbed momentum by winning a long rally for a 21-19 advantage and at match point, Hudson’s final kill was too hot to handle and the home team claimed the victory.
“Jayda and Emeline can both hammer the ball one-on-one,” Carlson said. “That last swing Emeline took tonight, that was pretty beastly. We have talked to her about hitting line. She went line on that last swing and put some heat on it.”
The Knights are about two weeks away from getting Zoey Burgess back in the lineup. The sophomore and younger sister of middle blocker K.J. Burgess, a University of Utah commit, will change the dynamic of the team when she steps on the court for the first time in 2021.
“In our first practices, Zoey was pretty incredible,” Carlson said. “She adds some really dynamic play. When she went down before the Skyline game that threw us off a bit in the first two matches. I definitely saw the beginning of the season going differently with her. We had to change our mindset and I had to change my focus.
“Those first two losses, we played good teams but it was a pretty good wake-up call. I’ve never started the season 0-2 at Lone Peak but it was good for us. It forced us to take a look at the reality of the situation and make some adjustments. It’s fine. We just don’t want to lose the last match of the season.”
Lone Peak opens Region 4 play on Thursday at county rival American Fork.
Salem Hills has a non-region match at home against Bingham on Wednesday and begins Region 9 play on Thursday at Provo.