Volleyball prepares for post-season play
Written by Stan Cola
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Best finish in teams’ 2A history
The Crested Butte Titans volleyball team just wrapped up their best season to date since moving to the Southern Peaks league and is now prepping for the post-season run with Districts starting on Tuesday, October 22.
The Titans had a dubious start to their end-of-the-season run when they headed to Sanford on Tuesday, October 8. While Sanford is in the league, the game was billed as a non-league match and the Titans failed to show up as a result, losing in straight sets 25-13, 25-11 and 25-20.
“Sometimes one or two players have off nights. At Sanford everyone had a bad night,” said coach Marla Covey following the loss. “It was a collective and complete team loss. Hopefully we got it all out our system.”
The Titans returned home to host the Antonito Trojans on Friday, October 11. The team came out flat and appeared disjointed, failing for most of the night to play together as a team. They battled to a 25-19 win in the first set but dropped the second set 25-21.
Covey tried a variety of line-ups against the Trojans and in the end it turned out to work as the Titans won the third set 25-16 and then held off a Trojan rally to win the fourth set 25-23 to seal the match win.
“Antonito is a more unconventional team that relies on their defense rather than blocking. It took time for us to find the holes on the court,” says Covey.
The Titans offense was spread out fairly evenly as senior captains Miki Olesen and Ali McGuire had seven and eight kills each and senior middle hitters Monika Olesen and Suzanna Dumas had four and six kills.
The Titans closed the regular season back on the road against one of the top teams in the state, the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds, who are 16-1. The Titans played more as a team, knowing they could not play as individuals and have any success against the Thunderbirds.
In each set the Titans battled and hung with Sangre with solid defense and particularly strong digging by senior captain Rosie Ewert. Nevertheless, the Thunderbirds managed to rattle off four and five point runs throughout the match.
“A team can’t give away points or runs to a team as strong as Sangre and expect to be successful,” said Covey.
After falling behind in the first set 13-7, the Titans put together some solid blocking and defense before falling 17-25. In the second set, the Titans took the court with a little more confidence and played a better set. Down 15-23, junior Brittany Barefield hit the service line for the longest run of serves all day by the Titans, including the only ace of the day. The effort pulled the Titans to within three points, down 23-20, but Sangre fought off the rally to win the second set 25-20.
Slightly deflated, the Titans stayed even with Sangre and were tied 9-9 in the third set before they dropped six straight points and eventually lost the set and match.
“A five or more point deficit against a strong team in rally scoring puts incredible pressure on the team that is behind because it forces a team to play perfect, aggressive volleyball to get back to even,” said Covey.
Miki Olesen demonstrated some intelligent hitting racking up six kills, followed by Suzanna Dumas with five. Suzanna and Monika Olesen had six and five blocks against the strong-hitting Thunderbirds.
While the reset of the league battles out final standings this week, it appears the Titans should hold on to fourth place in the Southern Peaks Conference, their best finish since moving up to 2A. The Titans will spend most of their break practicing and preparing to host the second round of the district pigtail games on Tuesday, October 22. If the Titans win, they will advance to the district tournament on Friday, October 25.