Sometimes, it’s the simple instructions that produce the best results.
Pleasant Grove volleyball coach Allyce Jones told her team to “swing away” in the fifth set on Tuesday against Lone Peak and her girls listened: The Vikings played well from start to finish and got a big kill from senior Bryton Bishop at match point to claim a 25-23, 25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 15-12 Region 4 victory in Highland.
“We came out serving tougher,” Jones said. “Offensively we were just swinging away and that was the mentality for that set. We were on attack. We started serving tough right off the bat. Abbie (Miller) set an amazing offense to set the tone and finalize that set.”
The Vikings and Knights will likely face each other a couple more times this season – the two teams have met for the last three big-school state championship, with Lone Peak winning all three – but the win was sweet for PG. It was the Vikings first win against the Knights since 2017 – breaking a string of seven straight losses – and it was the first loss by Lone Peak to an in-state school in 32 matches.
“My coach says we have swagger,” Bishop said. “Everyone just has their own personality and confidence they bring to the team and it just builds us up.”
There was also a bit of satisfaction for the Vikings in beating the Knights because Lauren Jardine – Lone Peak’s top hitter – transferred from PG after last season.
“I love playing against Lone Peak to see what we need to work on,” Jones said. “They are a high level program and we are, too. They exploit our weaknesses so we can work on those as soon as we can get back into the gym.”
Pleasant Grove (5-0 Region 4, 12-3 overall) took an early 6-3 in the fifth set, with Bishop tooling the block for a kill. The set turned when Mia Peterson got a kill and Jade Horsely’s one-handed dig led to a Viking point and an 11-9 lead. At match point (14-12), Bishop went off the block and PG won the fifth set and the match.
“I think honestly … this might sound cheesy but we were just having fun,” Bishop said. “I think we get a little fired up because they are our rivals and we get all intense, but when we just calm down, chill out, have fun and play as a team that makes a difference.”
Pleasant Grove took an early 12-8 lead in Set 1 but Lone Peak started to get into the groove from the service line. Four aces propelled the Knights back into the game and an ace by Grace Evans gave the home team a 20-18 advantage. PG came back behind Bishop, who had three big kills down the stretch. Bishop’s crafty angle shot gave the Vikings set point at 24-23, and Heather Hamson knocked down an overpass for a 25-23 win.
Set 2 was back and forth until Pleasant Grove went on a 10-3 run, keyed by a pair of aces from Abbie Miller and two kills from Kelli Jo Burgess, for a 22-15 lead. Peterson’s kill pushed it to set point and Hamson smartly attacked an overpass for the winner at 25-18 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Lone Peak got back in sync offensively in Set 3 and took an early 12-8 lead. The closest PG could get was two points, 22-20, on a block by Burgess and Anika Larsen. The Knights then scored the last three points – two MaKenzie Templeton kills and an ace by Grace Evans – for a 25-20 victory.
Lone Peak broke away in Set 4 with a 5-0 run, including another ace from Evans, to claim an early 10-7 advantage. Pleasant Grove battled back at tied the set at 15 with a Peterson kill, but Templeton – who had six kills in the third set – kept Lone Peak on top. Jardine got the winner on a kill down the line at 25-21 to force the fifth and deciding set.
Templeton led Lone Peak (4-1, 7-4) with 15 kills and Jardine – who came into the match averaging five kills per set – finished with 12.
Peterson paced Pleasant Grove with 19 kills and Bishop added 16.