Lone Peak High School Big Horns varsity volleyball team smiles as they prepare to battle at districts. PHOTO COURTESY MICHELLE HORNING

3rd place finish for Big Horns varsity volleyball

Lone Peak Big Horns varsity volleyball earned a hard-fought third place finish in the Class 11-C District Volleyball Tournament. It may have felt a little like the film “Groundhog Day”, as it has been a third place finish for the varsity team for the past three years. Still, the girls are talented, they love the game and are playing in an incredibly tough district, head coach Missy Botha explained. 

“The girls should be proud of what they accomplished this season,” Big Sky School District athletic director John Hannahs said. “They have put in an incredible amount of work all year round to get to where they are. On any given day they know they can hang with those teams, it just didn’t go their way last weekend. That’s what comes with playing in a tough district.”

Botha explained that the girls started-off slow due to nerves, including losing a set to the 0 and 10 West Yellowstone Wolverines “which was a shocker.” After the Big Horns found their rhythm, it was a quick game. 

“They started playing Lone Peak volleyball,” Botha said. 

The Big Horns then battled historically proven Manhattan Christian. 

“We played very well, but they just had some firepower that is hard to defend,” she explained. 

Big Horns lost that game and then quickly mopped-up Shields Valley in three sets. 

They then went against White Sulphur Springs – with the teams neck and neck for the first set and the Big Horns eventually lagging behind before Ruth Blodgett had a remarkable performance serving back-to-back aces to tie it up, Botha explained. Boldgett’s performance and the Big Horn’s two-point win changed the momentum. 

“After that we just hit our stride and took care of the next two sets,” Botha said. 

With that win, the battle Gardiner – another Goliath team in the district. 

“We stuck with them the whole way – we stuck with them for every single point and we played the best volleyball we have played,” Botha said. “They played the best they could, but Gardiner ended up taking us.”  

Botha explained that it’s  frustratingly challenging district “because even if we were in 12-C we would have gone to divisionals.” 

“However, next year, Gardiner and Manhattan are graduating six seniors and we have our sensational juniors coming up. So, the future is looking bright – so bright that we have to wear shades,” she said.  

Botha said she wanted to thank all the parents, athletic director John Hannahs and the fans in the spirit squad called “the herd.” She also said she is proud of the girls. 

“It starts with their love for each other and then their love for the game. You put those two things together and that is a great combination,” she said.

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