PLEASANT GROVE — A year removed from winning the 5A state championship, the Pleasant Grove Vikings (15-5) continue to hum along. On Thursday night, they picked up an impressive win over the Lone Peak Knights (5-5).
"A win like this builds a lot of confidence going into our second round of region," head coach Allyce Jones said. "We always see Lone Peak again and again and it's always a fun match."
The home team had the momentum from the beginning, as the Vikings jumped out to an early 19-5 lead to put the Knights on their heels.
After closing out the first set 25-12 and getting the crowd behind it, Pleasant Grove showcased exactly why it is the defending champ of the state's largest classification.
The one-two punch of Brisa Winterton and Rachel Gale really controlled much of the match for the Vikings. Gale tallied 17 kills, while Winterton finished with 43 assists, seven kills and three aces to power the Vikes.
Aside from Gale and Winterton, Bailey Nixon really made an impact on the match as well. She managed to contribute 12 kills and a block for the Vikings.
"Rachel does a nice job for us. She's always a pretty sturdy and solid player," Jones said. "They (Gale, Nixon and Winterton) are doing a really nice job because they're seniors who are really stepping as leaders, and it's making a big difference on the court."
Despite falling behind early and eventually dropping the third set 24-26, Pleasant Grove was determined to close out the match in the fourth set.
The Vikings used the energy from the roaring crowd to jump out to an early lead. After a late Knights rally, the home team called a quick timeout to recollect itself and put the nail in the coffin.
Winterton gave one final assist on a Vikings kill to end the set and defeat the Knights.
Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak both host matches Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. against Riverton and Westlake, respectively.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724