We had a really great advantage in the middle and we just didn’t pass enough to run our middles as often as we could. —Reed Carlson
BOUNTIFUL — A battle on the road against one of the top high school volleyball teams in the state, with an undefeated streak on the line, in a sweltering gym, was just another match for Lone Peak and its head coach, Reed Carlson.
The Knights defeated the Bountiful Braves 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21) at Bountiful High School on Tuesday night, improving their record to 5-0 on the season, but Carlson concluded that his squad has much to work on going forward.
“That felt more like a loss to me than a win. We didn’t play very well,” Carlson said.
Senior Jaquelyn Langhaim was happy with the Knights’ record being held intact, but said the Knights didn’t play up to their full potential.
“It feels good (to stay undefeated); you feel like we didn’t play our best that we could have, so it also felt like a little loss, but we won,” Langhaim said.
Coming into the match, Lone Peak’s game plan was to exploit its advantage in the middle.
“We had a really great advantage in the middle and we just didn’t pass enough to run our middles as often as we could,” Carlson said. “I don’t know why we struggled tonight, it’s hot in here, I don’t know, it was just a weird night for us and wasn’t our best volleyball.”
Even though the Knights didn’t dominate the middle as much as they had hoped to and committed 31 hitting errors, they still came away with the victory.
"Every match we play, we control the outcome based on what we do. Tonight, we made 31 hitting errors, we haven’t made 31 hitting errors in all out matches combined this year, so to do it all in one night is just a weird thing for us,” Carlson said. “No excuses, we just did not play our best volleyball.”
Lone Peak won the first game of the match 25-20, but dropped the second 18-25. After tying the match at one, Bountiful’s team and fans were fired up going into the break, and it looked like momentum was shifting toward the Braves.
One of the challenges of stopping Bountiful was the play of Brave senior Bri Mortensen.
“Bountiful’s good. Bri (Mortensen) is probably, in my opinion, one of the top three setters in the state of Utah, she runs a great offense, she is always finding the right hitters, she’s putting it in great location, and so that’s tough to play against, because she’s a great setter,” Carlson said. “I like playing against a kid like Bri because she is so good."
Unfazed, the Knights rallied to win the third game. Lone Peak won four straight points to take the game 25-23. Winning that game swung the momentum back to the Knights, which they carried to win the fourth — and final — game 25-21.
“We just looked a little bit longer, saw what we saw, had our blocker wait a little bit longer than we did earlier, so it just slowed the game down a little bit, just because we’re pretty big when we want to be, and so I think we just touched a few more balls and took them (Bountiful) out of their rhythm,” Carlson said.