OREM — In a tight, close and intense battle reminiscent of last season’s 5A championship match, the Lone Peak Knights defeated the Pleasant Grove Vikings, 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-10, 15-11) at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University.
“We had to work really hard, we focused on working 100 percent every ball. If we get one ball, then the next one, and 100 percent on that one,” Lone Peak senior Jaquelyn Langhaim said.
After Pleasant Grove took the first set, Lone Peak regrouped and won the second. When the Vikings won the third, though, it seemed like momentum was on their side. That momentum continued into the fourth set. In the fourth set, Lone Peak was losing momentum when head coach Reed Carlson took a timeout. After the timeout, the Knights scored four straight points and reclaimed control.
“I felt like we were being too timid on the court, and I just told them to be a lot more aggressive, to let it all hang out, play as hard as we possibly could. If we were going to lose a match, I’d rather us lose being the most aggressive we could possibly be than, and we played a heck of a lot better when we were aggressive. I think they just came out and said, no matter what, we’re going to finish this match swinging hard,” Carlson said.
With a rivalry — and a championship — on the line, the packed crowd was hanging on every point, and, with each point won, the decibel level cranked up. The anticipation was palpable.
“I hate playing those guys, but I love playing those guys. They’re just so good. They’re switching stuff, we’re switching stuff, we’re serving different places, they’re serving different places, it’s just high-quality, good volleyball you’re seeing, and I’m just proud of both teams — very happy for mine,” Carlson said.
In the fifth and deciding set, each team traded points, with neither team scoring consecutive points until Lone Peak scored two straight. The Knights took control of the set late, and held on to win as the clock stuck midnight.
“There’s no place I’d rather be than here. It doesn’t feel like midnight. I would give any Saturday for this,” Langhaim said.