OREM — The Lehi Pioneers earned their spot in the semifinals of the 5A state tournament on Friday afternoon.
The road there was not a smooth one.
To start, the No. 4-seed Pioneers were across the net from Region 3's top seed in Jordan for the opening match at Utah Valley University.
Lehi took advantage of first-round adrenaline and made quick work of the Beetdiggers, capturing the victory in straight sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-13).
"It's just so good to get that first win, I don't care who it's against," said Lehi coach Jamie Ingersoll. "Everyone is nervous; everyone is running on high adrenaline. That first win is so important just to get into your own groove, into your own game. That's a huge key."
In spite of finding their groove, the Pioneers faced another tough test in the second round of the tournament.
After dropping the first set, Lehi had to come from behind to defeat Viewmont in the quarterfinals, using all five sets to win with scores of 21-25, 25-12, 21-25, 25-18, 15-5.
"You get rolling, and then a few holes would open up that we just couldn't shut down," Ingersoll said.
Once the Pioneers again caught their rhythm, it was their team that became hard to stop.
"It seemed like when our serve was rolling, we tended to be rolling better in our offense," the coach continued. "We had very little offense in one of the games that we lost, and we're kind of an offensive team. We've got to be rolling in the offense for us to be successful."
Breelle Bailey led Lehi with 21 kills and 14 digs in the matchup against Viewmont. McKayla Houghton added seven kills, Reesie Tua had three blocks, Carley White had 13 digs, and Megan Ritchie had a serving streak of six straight serves for the Pioneers.
The team's X-factor, however, was the Lehi student section, which was by far the most populated and most vocal of any 5A or 4A school throughout the entire day of contests.
"We just have the best student body, and they are here every year," Ingersoll said of the support. "Our kids just love to support their team, and it's not just volleyball. They are just a bunch of kids that just love to be where their school is."
She added, "I get chills when I see them up there. I just think it's awesome that they want to support the girls, and the girls love it. It's just a good relationship."
Lehi will face Lone Peak at 12:30 p.m. today. The Knights defeated Fremont in three sets during the quarterfinal round. On the other side of the bracket, Pleasant Grove and Davis will meet in the semifinal match at 10:30 a.m. The Vikings defeated Northridge in three sets and the Darts edged Bingham in four sets in the respective quarterfinal matches.
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