I love seeing my girls be successful, and that brings something out of me that I can’t describe —Allyce Jones
PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove volleyball head coach Allyce Jones spent most of Thursday’s match against rival Lone Peak pacing the sidelines, wincing, fist-pumping and hanging on every point. When all was said and done, Jones’s expression at the end of a 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21) victory over the Knights was one of pure joy.
“I love seeing my girls be successful, and that brings something out of me that I can’t describe,” Jones said.
Thursday night’s matchup between the two Utah County rivals was highly anticipated, and the match was up to the hype, thrilling the fans in the packed stands at Pleasant Grove’s gym, nicknamed “Valhalla,” after a giant hall in Norse mythology.
Lone Peak came into the match with a record of 12-2, with the two losses coming against out-of-state teams. Pleasant Grove entered the match 16-3, seeking revenge for a 3-0 loss to the Knights in September.
“I feel like we were more passionate in our playing, and we wanted to do it for each other, not just our own selves,” Pleasant Grove senior Heather Gneiting said.
Kazna Tarawhiti led the Vikings with 23 kills, and Gneiting added 23. Baylie Bishop racked up 53 assists, while Hannah Waddell had 15 digs.
“Heather Gneiting did an outstanding job, and our passers and defense did a good job keeping us in our system. Baylie Bishop ran an incredible offense tonight that opened up our hitters everywhere,” Jones said. “We don’t have MVPs. We play as a team, and that’s how we win.”
“I feel like everyone played out of their heads. I felt like we all did our part, a team effort and we all did amazing,” Gneiting said.
Lone Peak won the first set, 25-18. Undeterred, Pleasant Grove came out firing in the second set, winning the first eight points. The momentum from winning the first eight points carried the Vikings through the set and ultimately the Knights rallied late but were unable to overcome the early deficit.
“We came out on a nice run and made an impact offensively that turned it around,” Jones said of the second set.
“I felt like that is when we started and we skyrocketed into our game,” Gneiting said.
Pleasant Grove won by the same score in the third set, taking the set 25-22. With the set tied at 20, the Vikings went on to win five out of the next seven points to secure the set.
Once again, the Vikings started out hot in the fourth set, which would turn out to be the final set of the match, winning seven of 10 points to open up the frame. After the final point of the match, the Vikings’ student section rushed the court and embraced their team, singing the school fight song.
“Our support system with our administration and students was incredible tonight, and our girls thrive off that,” Jones said.
Jones and the Vikings will be looking to continue their winning ways when they take on Westlake on Sept. 28.
“It gives us a lot of confidence after playing two matches and up 2-0 in region play, we’re excited to get going next week and see AF (American Fork) and Westlake,” Jones said.
Lone Peak will look to bounce back with a win against Westlake on Sept. 26.