The first Bonneville vs. Hillcrest volleyball match of 2018 occurred earlier in the season than in previous years, but there was no shortage of energy Thursday.
Playing through two lead changes and four ties in an intense first set, the Bees completed a 25-16, 25-12, 25-11 sweep of District 93 rival Hillcrest on Thursday in a lively Bonneville High School gym.
Each student section was at least four rows deep and vocal, starting a "We've got spirit, yes we do..." battle early in the third set and at times becoming so deafening, it drowned out the voices of the players and coaches.
"It was definitely hard to hear each other out there," said Bonneville junior outside hitter Makayla Sorensen. "Early in the first set, there was a lot of nerves. Probably halfway through the second set, we started to play our game."
The first set was responsible for much of the student section noise. The Knights erased a 3-1 deficit with five consecutive service points to take a 6-3 lead, prompting many cheers from the black-and-red clad Legion in the stands. The Bees responded with a 7-0 run of their own to snatch an 11-7 lead. Two more ties occurred before Bonneville stretched the lead to 22-14 off an 8-0 run and wrapped up the 25-16 win.
"They hung in there, for sure," Bonneville coach Chantal McMurtrey said. "That was the first big crowd we'd played in front of so far."
The Knights kept the second set close early, staying within three points before the Bees began to pull away. Bonneville ended the set with four consecutive service points.
The closest the third set got was 5-2 and 7-4 Bonneville before the student sections reached their loudest of the evening. The Bees maintained at least a four-point lead the rest of the way, clinching the 25-11 win off a Sage Leishman kill.
Thursday was first-year Hillcrest head coach Amanda Wade's introduction to the Bonneville-Hillcrest rivalry, and she counted her experience much like that of her players.
"It was overwhelming for me and for my girls," Wade said. "This was the first time several of them have played in front of a gym this loud. That first set was phenomenal. (The Bees) are such a powerful serving team."
Among the other "firsts" Thursday was the fact it was the first time since 2011 that both schools played each other in the 4A classification. Additionally, the Bees have new liberos in Maely Harrigfeld and Hannah Harker and the Knights have several new players due to losing several to the opening of Thunder Ridge.
The numerous new faces made them a bit of an unknown for the Bees.
"We kinda expected anything and everything to happen," Sorensen said. "We went after every ball that came over."
In a year of "all new everything" for the Knights, Wade said she and her coaching staff are focusing on fundamentals and communication.
"That's what's really going to help us with so few returning players," Wade said. "We're opening against so many established programs who have been playing together for years. I'm excited to see where go once we get settled in."
Sade Williams had seven kills, four aces, four digs and two blocks for the Bees while Sadie Lott had seven kills, three blocks, four aces and six digs. Mariah Jardine had seven kills, Sorensen had six kills, three blocks, four aces and eight digs and Brooklyn Cunningham had five kills for Bonneville (4-0, 2-0 4A District 6), which plays at Idaho Falls and Thunder Ridge on Tuesday.
Wade commended the play of returning varsity player Ashley Cannon, who moved from right side to middle blocker this season, and sophomore fCamber Kenison, who played in her first full varsity match Thursday. Hillcrest (0-4, 0-1 4A District 6) hosts Skyline on Thursday.