Senior middle hitter Dounia Metje (left) made the 1st Team All Conference and All State Team and junior setter Ivy Hicks (right) made the 2nd Team All Conference. Photo courtesy Jill Bough

All about the team

LPHS All Conference selections discuss the team they love
“A team can turn their season into whatever they want it to be. I’m happy to hear that they described this year as magical. We truly had some magical wins, but it all has to start with putting the hard work in up front,” coach Missy Botha said.

Sometimes there is a click – a connection, synchronicity – a flow. Experts have studied it, trying to figure-out how to replicate it in teams and businesses. There are even books written about it.

Lone Peak High School volleyball players, parents and fans say that this last season was a good example of what a team can become. 

Senior middle hitter Dounia Metje made the 1st Team All Conference and All State Team and junior setter Ivy Hicks made the 2nd Team All Conference. All the coaches from the conference vote and are unable to select their own players. 

“Having a chemistry between your setters and hitters is extremely important. Timing and movement along the net is a skill that needs to be perfected and Dounia and Ivy certainly did that,” coach Missy Botha said. 

The girls believe their selection may mean their photos will be put up in the school hallway someday. They do not seem too concerned about it, though. They just love the game – and their team. In fact, when discussing their selection, they talked of teammates they felt were also deserving. The girls noted how special the team was this year and how there was just friendship, acceptance, love and learning. 

Hicks described Metje’s dad as their number one fan. Metje quickly agreed. 

“By far,” she said with a smile. “I started crying at the banquet when he was speaking. He said, ‘In the second game I was sitting in the bleachers and watched as you guys went from individual athletes to a team and a family.” 

Craig Metje is proud of what the girls accomplished. He regaled the season with joy and remembered witnessing the click: “Good players here and good players there and then it happened in a second – [the girls] became a team. It just happened one day – the next thing you know, they were playing for each other. It was when the whole team came together as a unit and I knew they were winners.” 

He approached head coach Missy Botha after the game and shook her hand. 

“Coach, you’ve got a team,” he said. 

Even as Dounia heads to college in 2020, he is excited to see what the younger girls can accomplish this next year. 

“I’d tell them good luck, but they don’t need luck anymore. They’ve got it,” he said. 

Both Hicks and Metje were born and raised in Big Sky. Most of the girls on the team grew up together.  

“We’ve been playing together for a really long time,” Hicks said. 

In the past there had been a lot of drama – things like upperclassmen hating underclassmen, Metje explained. 

“But this year we are all friends outside of volleyball,” she said. 

They discussed a favorite team memory of the season, which was the game against Three Forks, a class B school that had been intimidating, Hicks said. 

“We went to a new place we’ve never been before. Their crowd was so mean. We pushed through five games and left with a win, which felt insane – I think that was the best game we’ve ever played,” Metje said. “We humbled their crowd, which was so awesome. We came out of nowhere and we DESTROYED.” 

The season went well, with LPHS securing 3rd place in highly competitive Class C volleyball, but they did not just learn how to win and how to handle losing, they learned life lessons, too. 

“You learn how to take and deal criticism and create improvements,” Metje said. 

Hicks noted learning communication and leadership skills as well as better handling pressure situations. 

They played, they learned, they cried when the season ended. Senior night was full of sweet sentiments and tears, the volleyball banquet was as well. 

Even during the interview Hicks and Metje said that discussing the end of this year and Metje’s soon departure from the halls of LPHS made them struggle a bit. Metje is now eyeing college volleyball and talking to recruiters, some as far away as Maine. 

“Recruiters should know that Dounia is a passionate and hard-working player. She is always focused and sets the tone on the court. She would be an asset on the court in any program,” Botha said. 

Metje said she is honored to be a part of a team that became a family. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better team and last season,” she said.

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