"Really, it was just a refocus issue for us. We had been working so hard, and we just needed to do what we know how to do," said Lone Peak's Makayla Pollard, who registered six kills in the middle but also stuffed back seven Brighton shots. "I think we put a little too much pressure on ourselves. After the second set, we just went out there to do what we needed to do."
Brighton, as per the norm, was led by senior Dani Barton, as the Utah recruit tallied 28 kills. But Pollard and company increasingly adjusted to her shots to limit the damage.
Gabrielle Shumway tallied 14 kills to lead the balanced Lone Peak attack, while Kennedy Boyd and Madi Robinson had nine apiece.
Lone Peak will take on unranked Weber in a semifinal today. The Warriors downed defending 5A champ Lehi in a first-round shocker before sweeping Copper Hills 25-18, 25-19, 25-23 in a quarterfinal matchup.
On the other side of the bracket, another Region 4 representative knocked out a formidable foe from Region 3, as Pleasant Grove took out Bingham 25-15, 25-12, 25-23 as junior Kazna Tarawhiti led the Vikings with 16 kills.
"We're doing good. I think we're playing some good ball at the right time," said Pleasant Grove coach Allyce Jones, whose team was 5A runner-up a year ago after winning three straight state championships from 2012 to 2014.
The Vikings made a recent change with their extra-tall hitters along the front line, as 6-foot-4 junior Heather Gneiting has been moved to a strong-side hitter, while 6-7 Sara Hamson switched from the right side to share time in the middle with 6-5 Malli Valgardson.
Tarawhiti, who stayed on the left, said the changes were not a result of Pleasant Grove's second loss to Lone Peak at the close of the regular season.
"It just changed last week. We just are trying to figure out what works best for us and not really thinking about any other team," Tarawhiti said.
The Vikes' opponent Saturday afternoon will be Sky View, a 25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18 winner over Layton in its quarterfinal match. The Bobcats precariously trailed 24-21 in the third set before taking five straight points.
"Everything I thought I knew as a coach went out the window in that third game," said Sky View coach Malayna Knowles, whose team was led by Abby Harper's 19 kills. "I'm just going to go tell our kids to go play. We do our best when we're not thinking."