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High school volleyball: Lone Peak's superior depth pays off in sweep

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 9:24 a.m. MDT

Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey spikes the ball during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey spikes the ball during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

LAYTON — Having depth on a team is a dream come true for a coach.

For players, however, it means a constant battle to hold onto playing time.

But instead of feeling threatened or jealous by the talent around them, the Lone Peak volleyball players choose to see their depth at every position as their strength.

"It's such a good thing to know there is competition there," said senior setter Magen Hunter, after Lone Peak swept Northridge 25-19, 25-12, 25-21 Tuesday. "It means competing against each other, but it pushes you. It makes you better. And then you also know if you can't get it done, someone is right there for you to help the team."

Head coach Deanna Meyer said there are players sitting on her bench who could start at other programs. She gets very creative in getting as many of those players on the floor as possible. The team uses two setters in its offense and boasts two right side hitters who are 6-3.

Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey watches the ball during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey watches the ball during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

"We're playing pretty clean volleyball right now," said Meyer after the win. "We were digging a lot of balls, and I like that aspect of the game. It shows heart."

The momentum belonged most of Tuesday's match to Lone Peak, although Northridge enjoyed some nice moments and a much more consistent effort in the third set.

"We're young and we have a lot of room for improvement," said Northridge head coach Shauna Haney. "We did have some really positive moments."

The team was led by freshman outside hitter Rachel Parson's 11 kills. Senior outside Alex Smith added six kills, four digs and two aces, while libero Nikki Hansen finished with 18 digs. Senior setter Aimee Kyed earned 21 assists.

Lone Peak was led by senior outside hitter Kizzy Willey, who earned14 kills, and right side Emily Lewis, a sophomore, who added nine kills. Libero Makenna Santiago earned 16 digs, and setters Hunter and Raegan Lindsey earned 15 and 14 assists, respectively.

Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey reacts after a point during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey reacts after a point during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Meyer is grateful not only for the depth at every position, but also for the attitude of this year's squad.

She said they all put the team first and are happy to play whatever role necessary to help the squad improve.

"The way we design our practices, the kids are used to playing a lot of different positions," she said. "Any kid can go and function on the floor in different roles."

She said having three talented setters — seniors Hunter and Raegan Lindsey, as well as sophomore, Rylee Rogers — helps the hitters develop versatility.

Hunter said the team has great chemistry because they've played both high school and club together for several years.

"It's nice because we fight for each other," she said. "I'm excited to just get after it this year."

Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey is hugged by her teammates after a point during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lone Peak's #10 Kizzy Willey is hugged by her teammates after a point during game action as Northridge and Lone Peak play Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 at North Ridge. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Santiago said the big block Lone Peak puts up makes her job as the defensive leader much easier.

"It gives me a lot more confidence," she said, "and makes it easier for me to get in the hole."

Email: adonaldson@desnews.com

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