OREM — Whatever pressure Lone Peak senior Tasia Farmer felt as she and her teammates prepared for Saturday afternoon’s 6A state championship match was eased by the affection she felt for the girls who hoped to hold that title trophy alongside her and the work they invested all season long.
“I definitely felt pressure, but I also felt like we were very well prepared,” the UC-Santa Barbara-bound outside hitter said after Lone Peak swept Pleasant Grove 25-15, 25-22, 25-17 to claim the 6A title at UVU’s UCCU Center. “We have faced P.G. throughout our region, and we played them in the preseason, so we kind of knew what we were expecting.”
Aside from the value of hard work, Farmer said, it is the friendships that she’ll cherish and that made it possible for Lone Peak to win their third straight title.
“I feel like our team chemistry and being able to know that we are always loving each other and supporting each other,” Farmer said, “that was a huge factor in us being able to have such a good relationship on and off the court.”
The match was never really in doubt, and while the Vikings managed some impressive moments, they really couldn’t hold momentum for a significant length of time.
“I felt like if we could just maintain our level of play the whole time, and execute the way we said were going to come in and execute, we felt like we could control the match, that we could control the rhythm,” said head coach Reed Carlson. “(During the breaks), we were just saying, ‘Don’t let down.’”
The Knights had a bit of a reality check in their semifinal match against Copper Hills. The Grizzlies beat Lone Peak in the third set, forcing a fourth.
“Over and over, we just reminded them that it takes a certain amount of intensity to beat a really good volleyball team, and (Pleasant Grove) is a great volleyball team. They’ve proven that year after year after year.”
Carlson said it wasn’t just the impressive athleticism of the Knights that was on display in the match.
“We've spent a lot of time talking about why we play this game as a team,” Carlson said. “And we just try to help them realize that we're here (because of) the pressure; we're here because we love the game, we love our teammates, and we love our school, we love our families and want to represent everything as best we can.
"That's what came out tonight, is probably the most beautiful group of kids showing how much they love the sport of volleyball, how much they love their team, how much they love to represent their school, and I couldn't be prouder of them.”
The Knights were led by setter Gabi Haws, who finished with 30 assists. Farmer was almost unstoppable, finishing with 18 kills. Senior middle Kennedi Boyd added nine kills and, along with middle Rae Montrose, was key in the defense at the net.
Carlson praised Haws for setting “a beautiful match,” while she praised her teammates for being a good example to her.
“They are such talented players,” she said. “(I learned from them) that hard work can get you anywhere. They’re probably the hardest workers that I’ve met in my life.”
Like Farmer, Haws said they’ve earned their confidence through a lot of long, hard practices.
“I think we’ve felt all year like we have the most athletic team, and like we can and we should have done this,” she said. “This has been our goal the whole season.”1 comment on this story
The Vikings are young and talented and had impressive performances from a number of players, including sophomore middle Heather Hamson and senior middle Sydney Valgardson. The Vikings swept second-ranked Bingham in the 6A semifinals Saturday morning.
Carlson said the team was focused all season on earning this moment Saturday.
“This was exactly our goal from the start,” he said of their effort to represent each other and their school with their best effort, “is to have them show that, and they did better than I ever hoped for. They are incredibly hardworking people of character and I’m proud to associate with them. That’s pretty fun.”