For a team playing in just its fourth match this season, the Lone Peak Knights looked awfully good.
"We are on the road to improvement," said Lone Peak head coach Deanna Meyer, after the second-ranked Knights swept Skyline 25-21, 25-10, 25-19 Tuesday night in non-region play. "We have things we want to take care of. We have individual goals, team goals, this is only our fourth game."
And while both squads struggled at times with serving and hitting errors, the Knights looked every bit the 5A title contenders coaches predicted they'd be in pre-season polls. The most frightening aspect of Lone Peak's dominance Tuesday was that every player on the bench spent significant time on the court.
"We were able to get a lot of girls in the game," Meyer said. "We're still working out line-ups, positions. We're so deep it's nice to keep the level of play up, even when we have the underclassmen in the game. They (the younger players) really came out fired up in that third game."
Lone Peak jumped out to an 8-1 lead in that third game, but then the Eagles got some nice serving from libero Marissa Powell and right side Hanna Mcvea, along with some scrappy play led by senior setter Sasha Nash to get them back in the game. Nash finished with 13 assists and seven digs, while Powell earned 15 digs and two aces. Outside hitter Claire Leiser led the Eagle offense with 11 kills.
When asked which of the Knights' offensive players pose the the most trouble for a team, Skyline coach Jami Hutchins answered, "One through 30. They've got so much depth, they just keep throwing players at you."
That was certainly true Tuesday as Meyer opted to use starting outside hitter Ashlan Rogers as a libero in the third game and used Cami Richan as an outside in games two and three. Richan had a great match leading the team in kills with seven. Rogers finished with nine digs, while setter Heather Hannemann earned 25 assists and five aces.
"Ashlan is a very technically sound player," said Meyer, who was pleased with how all of the players who stepped on the court contributed to the win. "Cami came in and did a good job. Heather has great skills and leadership."
Hutchins singled out outside hitter Aubrey Muaina, a three-year-starter, and the team's starting libero Anna Burgess as playing particularly well. In the third game, he said twins Chloe Jarema and Coralie Jarema did a lot of damage for Lone Peak.
The Knights host a tournament this weekend and then travel to Chicago on Oct. 3 and 4 for the Nike Challenge Tournament.
The Eagles start region play next week and will be looking to find some consistency."This team shows moments of greatness," said Hutchins. "We are young and we're making some silly mistakes. But if they keep working hard and supporting each other, we'll be OK."