GLENWOOD SPRINGS - David Walck felt his Grand Valley High School volleyball team got the experience it needed at last weekend's Glenwood Springs Demon Invitational tournament. Now, he's hoping the Cardinals can learn from that experience.
"It's about gaining knowledge, court knowledge, and learning the little things," the Cardinals coach said.
Those "little things" the Cardinals picked up resulted in a 2-2 finish in the tournament, including three-set wins over Aspen (25-23, 22-25, 15-11) and Nucla (14-25, 25-21, 15-5) and straight-set losses to Denver Christian (25-14, 25-22) and Glenwood Springs (25-19, 25-21).
But the good things the Cardinals accomplished far outweighed the bad, the coach added, giving Walck a lot of optimism for the remaining season.
"We found a lot of team chemistry, and we showed that we're really scrappy," said Walck, whose team pulled within 22-21 in the second set against Glenwood Springs after trailing by as many as six points early on. "We're not afraid to touch the ball and go after it, that's for sure."
Sophomore outside hitter Kyra Chenoweth finished the tournament with a team-high 12 kills, fellow sophomore Megan Smith added 10 and Lyndsey Anderson and Jordan Scott each chipped in eight kills during the tournament. Scott also had five solo blocks, and Kayla Fredrich added a team-high 12 service aces.
Though the Cardinals ended their tournament with a loss, Rifle High's volleyball team finished it on a high note, rallying past Nucla 19-25, 25-16, 15-13 in the Bears' final match of the tournament.
"It's always good to get a win like that, especially early in the season," Rifle coach Erin Reider said. "I think there were a lot of butterflies at the start of the tournament, and then we finally settled in."
The Bears' victory followed three straight-set losses to Coal Ridge, Vail Christian and Lutheran, last year's Class 2A state champion. Reider, however, was impressed with how her team recovered after its 25-9, 25-13 loss to Lutheran.
"Lutheran was better than any team we saw at the [Colorado State University] tournament," said Reider, speaking of the summer team camp the Bears went to in Fort Collins. "They have amazing talent on their team. But what was good for us is we didn't harbor the loss and still came away with a win."
Katelyn Shanahan finished the tournament with a team-high 10 kills, and Jordan Cody chipped in eight. Sophomore Kylee Orgill chipped in five service aces to pace the Bears.
Rifle continues its schedule in Craig today with a 3A Western Slope League match at Moffat County, then heads to Edwards to play Battle Mountain on Saturday. Grand Valley plays a league match at Coal Ridge tonight and will host a non-league match against Paonia on Saturday.