When Lone Peak’s Lauren Jardine or KJ Burgess make a big play in a match, their teammates on the bench start chanting “D1! D1! D1!”
Jardine, who has committed to Big Ten power Wisconsin and Burgess, who last week committed to the University of Utah, led the Knights to a huge 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-25, 15-7) victory at Pleasant Grove on Thursday in a duel between the two best high school volleyball teams in the state of Utah.
Lone Peak came into the match No. 1 in the Utah High School Athletic Association’s 6A RPI and Pleasant Grove was No. 2, and the two teams didn’t disappoint. A back-and-forth battle finally went the Knights way behind the powerhouse offense of Jardine (27 kills) and timely plays at the net by Burgess (five blocks, nine kills).
“We had a game plan, and when we were able to focus on the game plan and execute on the game plan, it seemed to go our way,” Lone Peak coach Reed Carlson said. “I don’t want to say it was easy because it’s never easy against those guys because they are always really good. But we’re able to execute at a high level when we followed the game plan really well.”
The match really turned in Set 2. Pleasant Grove took the first set 25-23 and led the second 15-8 when Jardine took over. She tallied five kills and a block during a 13-1 Knights run, turning that seven-point deficit into a 21-16 lead.
“I don’t think anybody can stop her,” Carlson said. “She’s such a great athlete and she’s matured a lot in the past year. Consistently now she is one of those people we can rely on. She’s become more calm in those situations and is able to rise in those situations.”
Jardine finished with nine kills in the second set, which Lone Peak won 25-19 on a combo block from Burgess and Hannah Hawkins.
“I feel like I need to add a little bit more passion when we’re down,” Jardine said. “More passion for not only the team but for the sport and for my teammates. This is the most inclusive team ever I’ve ever had and I love being able to play with my family.”
Set 3 was tied at 21 but Lone Peak surged at the end. Kills from Burgess and Jardine pushed the Knights to s 24-22 lead and Jardine smashed a kill for the winner at 25-22, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead in the match.
Pleasant Grove dominated Set 4, taking an early 10-5 lead after a pair of aces from Ashley Gneiting. The Vikings scored the final seven points of the set, getting a kill from Gneiting at set point for a 25-15 win to force a fifth and deciding set.
Kinley Swan sent down a kill and Jardine served an ace for an 8-3 Knights lead in Set 5. Later, Burgess scored with a quick kill and Hadley Grant’s serve trickled over the net for an ace, giving Lone Peak a commanding 12-5 advantage. Jardine’s solo block pushed the Knights to match point at 14-7 and she finished off the match with sizzling shot to the floor for the final point.
“KJ was huge, so that helps,” Carlson said. “Grace (Evans) was unbelievable tonight on defense (24 digs). She was all over the place. I feel like we still have some work to do, obviously, but that’s what’s great about playing PG. They will show you all your weaknesses. I was glad to squeak it out in the fifth set. I was glad that we learned some stuff about ourselves. We love playing those guys.”
Mia Peterson led Pleasant Grove (13-2 overall, 2-1 Region 4) with 14 kills and Heather Hamson added 11.
Lone Peak (11-0 overall, 3-0 Region 4) has a full schedule next week with three region matches plus a weekend tournament.