Not even a cooler than normal gym could slow down the red hot Lone Peak Knights as they cruised to 3-0 victory Tuesday night against Park City.
While fans wrapped themselves in blankets to avoid feeling the constant air conditioning blowing, the Knights wrapped up the nonregion season in dominating fashion with set victories of 25-7, 25-16 and 25-15.
This young squad, which dropped its first two matches of the season, seems to have found a rhythm, and just at the right time with a very competitive region schedule around the corner.
“A better-balanced attack, what we are showing right now, is really helping us,” said Lone Peak coach Paula Jardine.
A “better-balanced attack” might be putting it lightly. The Knights were led by junior Zoey Burgess, who hit .500 with seven kills. Junior Greta Brown and senior Alexa Behrbom added eight and five kills, respectively, and junior Trinidy Tien, making her season debut after an injury, recorded nine digs and four aces.
Everything on the offensive side went through senior setter Kalia Kohler, whose vision and sets had the Knights running like a well-oiled machine.
The senior’s efforts certainly weren’t lost on her head coach.
“She’s just the best setter in the state,” said Jardine. “When she shows up and executes our offense, it’s pretty hard to stop us.”
Said Kohler: “I think we are learning to incorporate our middles a lot, because they are a really big threat on the court. When we get that flow with our middles, it just opens up everything around the court.”
An early back-and-forth battle in the first set quickly turned Lone Peak’s way, as the Knights strung together runs of 10-0 and 9-1 to finish the set. A similar 8-0 run in the second set put Lone Peak comfortably ahead at 17-7.
Park City was not ready to throw in the towel though, and made a mini run to pull within five. Some impressive serving from the Knights, however, helped stop the run and finish the set.
Lone Peak finished the match with 13 aces, putting pressure on Park City’s offense all night long.
The third and final set resembled the first two, with Lone Peak building up a lead, forcing Park City’s offense to run out of sync and keeping the Miners at bay all the way to the sweep.
“We are a lot younger (than last year), and we are still trying to figure things out, but we have natural athleticism, and we are very scrappy,” said Kohler.
That scrappiness will definitely help a young Knights team with not much varsity experience. Facing the likes of Skyridge and Pleasant Grove in Region 4 will be no small task for the defending 6A champs, but Jardine is confident her players are ready to give it their all.
“Even though we are a young team, we come out and fight every day,” Jardine said. “We battle, and we work really hard. I’m really proud of the team.”