Sadie Lott describes basketball and volleyball as her two loves.
Those two sports have provided the Bonneville High School senior with bonding moments with her siblings, opportunities to travel from a young age and rich friendships that endure to this day. Basketball came first for her, following in the footsteps of older brothers Braden and Carson and older sister Kenzi. Volleyball, which Kenzi also played, soon followed, and the two sisters would create their own games.
“We’d play in the house and we just peppered back and forth,” Lott said.
She grew up going from one sporting event to the next to watch her older siblings, and it wasn’t long before the youngest Lott had her chance to compete and travel. She began playing in a volleyball league by first or second grade and was on a travel team by fifth grade, where she met and befriended eventual Bonneville High teammates Alexis McMurtrey and Makayla Sorensen. In spring 2013, they were fifth graders on a Bonneville U13 team which won the Idaho Classic U13 Division in Boise, earning blue shirts and some fanfare upon returning to school.
“My teacher was like, ‘Oh look, you made the newspaper,” Lott said.
That news clipping gave a glimpse into accomplishments to come: traveling to tournaments in Denver, Orlando, Las Vegas and Detroit, making varsity as a freshman alongside Sorensen and McMurtrey, reaching four consecutive state tournaments and winning three of them, moving up Bonneville’s all-time records list and becoming a dynamic middle blocker.
Lott compiled 410 kills, 75 blocks, 352 digs and 61 aces this fall and will leave Bonneville as No. 1 all-time in career blocks (332), No. 5 all-time in kills (1,367) and No. 5 all-time in aces (213).
She had a breakout senior season for the 4A state champion Bees, and now has another news clipping to save upon receiving the honor of the Post Register’s 2019 All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year.
“She was able to do everything,” Idaho Falls coach Kaitlyn Zarpentine said. “I sincerely feel like from an outside perspective, she took on a leader role for that team that I haven’t seen before. I feel like she brought a type of determinedness and level headedness.”
Lott has been consistent and smooth for some time. Coaches said what made Lott stand out on a loaded Bonneville team this fall, however, was how they never knew where she was going to be because she played back row more frequently than in previous seasons.
Furthermore, coaches said it is highly unusual for a middle blocker to do what Lott does at 5-foot-8. They not only had to account for her offense, but her blocking, and she excels at both.
“What I love about Sadie Lott is she is so understated and she is a freaking workhorse,” Hillcrest coach Amanda Wade said. “She is going to encourage her teammates. You can see the athletic mentality that she brings to the game, ‘Let’s take care of this job.’ She will get the job done.”
Bonneville head coach Chantal McMurtrey said it was a ‘nice luxury’ to have a group of athletes who were interchangeable on the court. Lott previously played outside hitter and right side hitter before moving to middle blocker upon starting high school. Prior to this fall, the last time Lott played back row this frequently was when she was 13 and 14 years old.
“I think Sadie is one of the best athletes Bonneville has ever seen,” McMurtrey said. “She’s a game changer. I’ve never played a conventional rotation. Sometimes Sadie would play middle back. Sadie was playing left back mostly because she was the best at getting the tip up than anybody else. When Sadie would serve, I’d have Maely (Harrigfeld) play left back.”
Having played for teams that do not generally boast much height, Lott said she is used to being underestimated at 5-foot-8. While she said she ‘has no idea’ where her vertical came from, competing in jump events in middle school track set the foundation. She added that it can still be nervewracking being across the net from players who are almost a foot taller, but she knows what she does well and she enjoys surprising people by destroying the mental image of what makes a typical middle blocker.
“It’s for sure intimidating when playing some teams and you see this 6-5 middle blocker and you go, ‘I have to block her and hit over her?’” Lott said. “But really, it’s not how big you are. It’s how big you play. I’m super fast and I jump as high as I can.”
Her first two seasons of high school volleyball, Lott rarely played back row due to having older teammates who played solid defense. When it became apparent early on this fall that she would be playing back row more frequently, she embraced it.
“I knew I just had to step up for my team and play wherever Chantal needed me,” Lott said.
She also worked on improving her serve receive, which area coaches said was incredible this year.
“That’s been my big focus in volleyball,” Lott said. “I’ve struggled at serve receive before. My freshman and sophomore years, I played defense for one rotation. This year, I really focused on getting stronger at serve receive.”
Her ability to play around the court has created some unknowns about what is next. She is undecided between playing for the University of Providence in Great Falls (Mont.) or Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore., both of which have former Bonneville teammates on the rosters, and it is not definite yet what position she would play.
“We’ll see,” Lott said. “Kinda just wherever they need me.”
While she is currently early in her senior season of high school basketball and her final club volleyball season, Lott said it was hard to believe high school volleyball was over once Bonneville claimed the 4A state title with a three-set win over defending champion Century on Nov. 2 in Coeur d’Alene. She added that she is grateful for the experiences she’s had with Bonneville volleyball. The Bees went 38-6 this fall to conclude a four-year run of 156 wins, 21 losses, four consecutive district titles (two in 5A, two in 4A) and three state titles (two 5A, one 4A) in four consecutive title match appearances.
“It’s awesome,” Lott said. “Not a lot of people get to say, ‘I’ve won three state titles.’ We’ll look back 40 years from now and be like, ‘We did that.’ I’ll tell my kids about it. If you just work your hardest, things will pay off in the end.”
She remembered watching another Bonneville four-year varsity player, 2016 graduate and Idaho State volleyball player Haylie Keck, and aspiring to do big things when she became a Bee. In addition to Lott leaving Bonneville as No. 1 all-time in career blocks, Sorensen will leave as No. 1 all-time in career kills and Alexis McMurtrey will leave as No. 1 all-time in career aces and assists. Coach McMurtrey said those three have set themselves apart among Bonneville’s four-year varsity players, which is not a considerably lengthy list.
“We’ve had freshmen play for us before, but never had they had a role that was very important,” coach McMurtrey said. “These three were major impact players from the moment they started playing. That’s where they stand out among all the other freshmen we’ve had.”
As she prepares for the next step in her career, Lott said it will be strange to focus solely on volleyball after growing up a multi-sport athlete. As a sophomore, she played club volleyball and travel basketball simultaneously and packed three suitcases in preparation for being on the road for a month. She said because they are her two loves, she misses the other sport she isn’t playing, and she will find ways to get her basketball fix in years to come.
“I’ll have to play summer league,” Lott said, laughing.
While she still has much volleyball left to play, Lott said she is looking forward to someday experiencing the other side of sports. Coming from an athletic family, she knows firsthand how much her parents and siblings have traveled and given of their time to support her, and she wants to do the same as an adult.
“I’m kind of excited because once I’m done competing, I can watch other people play—my nieces and nephews and my kids,” Lott said with a smile.