Orem • Already down a set and trailing 18-12 in the second, the Lone Peak volleyball team called a timeout, and the players walked slowly to the huddle near the bench.
Across the net, the six Pleasant Grove players on the court erupted. The Vikings realized, seemingly for the first time, that the Knights, a team that had beaten them in two Region 4 matches this season, were on the ropes.
The Vikings never let up. They closed out the second set and wrapped up a sweep of the Knights, 25-16, 25-14, 25-19, to take the Class 5A state volleyball championship Saturday at Utah Valley University without losing a set in the tournament.
“We were thinking the pressure’s on them,” Vikings outside hitter Melissa Fuchs said about the team’s mindset during the timeout. “We lost to them twice, so the pressure’s always on them.”
Pleasant Grove started the match on a 6-1 run, and it was a harbinger of what was to come. Led by Fuchs, who had a match-high 21 kills, the Vikings started fast in each of the three sets, their momentum and vocal support from a rowdy crowd picking up with each point.
The Knights, who won Region 4 and hadn’t lost a set in their march to the title match, seemed shellshocked and weren’t able to dig out of the holes they dug to start each set.
Lone Peak swept both of its regular-season matches with the Vikings, who finished second in Region 4. But the Vikings, fresh off an upset over Davis, which was last year’s champion and the top seed from Region 1, were unsurprised at how they dominated the Knights.
“No, because of how hard we worked in practice,” Fuchs said. “We deserve it. We worked so hard every day in practice — harder than anybody in the state, and that’s why we were confident.”
Kizzy Willey had 13 kills and seven digs for the Knights in the losing effort.
Pleasant Grove swept its semifinal, a 25-20, 25-19, 25-21 win over Davis to reach the title match. The Darts, who were thought of as a favorite to defend their title, never found their footing against the Vikings and settled for a third-place finish in the tournament.
Lone Peak beat Lehi in three sets, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21, in the afternoon semifinal. The Knights didn’t have quite as easy of a time as they did in their first-round and quarterfinal matches, but the Pioneers weren’t able to put much pressure on the Knights.
Lehi, which lost in the title match last year, had been one of the surprises of the tournament. The Pioneers, the fourth seed from Region 4, knocked off two higher seeds to reach the semis, including top-seeded Jordan in the first round.