Lone Peak has dominated the last few years of Utah high school volleyball, with three back-to-back championships, and was selected as preseason favorite to take the 6A crown once again.
As usual, the Knights are looking good after a quick 3-0 victory over the 4A title favorites, the Orem Tigers.
Despite its past successes, a new year means a new roster for the Knights, and they are still adjusting to its new look.
The game started a little shaky for Lone Peak, Orem started with confidence, which was lacking from its opponent. It remained close through most of the first set, but as the Knights settled they started to pull away for a 25-21 win.
“Right now, we’re just trying to develop that team chemistry because we’re so new with this lineup and playing different lineups every set,” said Lone Peak head coach Paula Jardine.
“I think what’s hard is it seems that the first 10 points we spend trying to figure things out. But, when we find and land on a lineup, I think it will kind of work itself out.”
“I don’t know if it’s nerves, but we tend to start out a little jittery and when we settle down and realize it’s just the same volleyball we do every day in practice then they get dialed in and focused.”
It was a different story after the first set, Lone Peak took complete control to beat Orem 25-18 and 25-11 in the final sets. Once the Knights found their groove, they were difficult to stop.
Sisters Ava and Zoey Burgess were dominant on the net for Lone Peak. Zoey is a senior and in her fourth year on the varsity squad, while Ava is an incoming freshman. Ava ended the night with an impressive 10 kills on 17 hits for the Knights.
“Coming into the season I was really excited. I didn’t know if I would start or not and coming to this game, I was so nervous,” said Ava.
“But, when I started to play, I got the hang of it and was just calm. (Zoey) really helps me with my confidence because we’re on the net together and she always boosts my energy.”
Zoey also shined by being a huge presence on the net for Lone Peak with many big blocks and big swings in the win. While Zoey is excited for a chance at a fourth championship in her final year, she says this year is also special because she gets to play with her sister.
“It’s really special to me because in my freshman and sophomore year, I played with my older sister, and it was just such a cool experience to be a freshman playing varsity playing with my older sister,” said Zoey.
“I just want to lead that same path, that same expectation with my younger sister, and just show her the way and be an example for her.”
When asked about the chance at a fourth and final championship, it was nothing but confidence from the Lone Peak senior.
“It just shows that I have a goal, I’m going to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, and I’m going to help my team accomplish that goal. We all want to win state and I’m just going to help my team get there.”