"It's such an intense atmosphere," Lehi coach Jamie Ingersoll said. "You want to have these kinds of experiences so you can file them away and have confidence. You've got to know how you do under pressure. We've gone five games with PG, Lone Peak and Riverton. It's now my most hateful number."
Things appeared bleak after Riverton overcame a first-game loss to win the next two. The Silverwolves led 20-19 in the fourth game before Lehi (4-1, 11-2) scored six of the last eight points to persevere. The game featured six lead changes before the Pioneers took the lead for good on a missed hit at 22-21.
The momentum carried into the fifth game. Lehi opened a 9-4 lead before Riverton (5-1, 11-9) closed within one point (10-9). But the Pioneers outscored the Silverwolves 5-1 down the stretch.
"It's all mental because in your head you know your teammates are on your side," Lehi's Rylin Roberts said. "Our team goal this year is to finish the match. Having that intensity and pressure is a good thing."
Lehi now has defeated Riverton and Lone Peak in five games and lost to Pleasant Grove in five during region. Pleasant Grove is the defending Class 5A state champion, while Lone Peak placed second and Lehi fourth at state last season.
Ingersoll said her team is gaining more confidence each match.
"We understand our limitations and strengths," she said. "If we know that, we give ourselves a chance to win. Our key has got to be balance. When we get an offense that is out of balance, we struggle. We got into an outside [hitting] mentality, and Riverton is a great defensive team. We had to bring back the balance."
Lehi started fast, opening a 10-3 lead in the first game. However, Riverton rallied to trim the lead to one point twice. Though the Silverwolves didn't win the game, the momentum spurred them on over the next two.
Riverton took its first lead of the third game at 10-9 and held off Lehi to give itself a chance to close the match in four games.
Roberts had four aces and 19 kills to lead the Pioneers, while McKayla Houghton contributed 12 kills and Cydney Lund had 20 digs. Ali Greenwood came on to serve some crucial points in the fifth game.
Danelle Parady led Riverton with four aces and 19 kills.