PLEASANT GROVE So far, perfection remains intact for the Pleasant Grove Vikings in their drive for an undefeated season and a state volleyball championship.
Though Pleasant Grove came close to losing a tough first game to a scrappy Lehi squad both team's first Region 4 matchup, the Vikings came back from a deficit through most of that game to even things up at 21 and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The 25-23 victory in game one helped propel them forward to finish off games two and three with scores of 25-18, 25-17.
"My team does a good job of finishing. They run with it and close it well. I think that our goal for this match was to put it away. But we let Lehi hang in there with us in the first game," said Pleasant Grove coach Jamie Schapper.
Part of the reason they had a little trouble in the first game was the six service errors the Vikings committed and the fact that they only put down a single block. But, Schapper was happy to note, the Pleasant Grove blocking did pick up later in the match.
The blocking charge was led by Melissa Rider, who had five blocks (and five kills). Jennifer Hamsen led the offensive attack as she pounded down seven kills. At 6-foot-6, Hamsen doesn't usually look across the net and meet an opponent eye-to-eye, but against Lehi, she comes pretty close to doing that as the Pioneers' Elle Brainard stands a 6-foot-5 and played well for Lehi, coming up with six kills.
Danica Mendivil put down six kills and added eight digs and four aces for good measure, and Kim Dahl finished off a balanced scoring effort by the hitters with her own six kills.
Kemi McFarland set 25 assists for the squad but might see some of her playing time diminish as Rae Mulitalo came back from an injury to play her first points in several weeks at the end of Game 3. The two will probably share playing time for the foreseeable future.
The Vikings led most of the way through each of the final two games, but it was game three that Schapper really challenged her team.
"I told the team in the third that they needed to dominate, and they really stepped up to the plate," said Schapper.
Lehi was led in scoring by Miranda Parkinson, who finished with a game-high 11 kills, Brainard with six, and Katy Ford, who came off the bench for five.
The No. 1-ranked Vikings will face Lone Peak on Tuesday in their first match in Region 4 play. The two teams met Sept. 13 at the Asics Rocky Mountain Champions Classic in the semifinals with Pleasant Grove squeaking one out in five tight games.
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