GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Falling into a large deficit in the second and third set against the Glenwood Springs High School volleyball team didn’t deter the Coal Ridge Titans one bit on Tuesday.
If anything, it only motivated them.
“I think more than rattling us, it just fired us up even more than usual,” said junior outside hitter Bailey Davis after the Titans’ 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 nonleague sweep of the Demons at the GSHS gym. “When someone pushes us, it makes us want to push back. And when we push back, we push back all at once.”
Coal Ridge (5-0 overall), whose performance at this past weekend’s Demon Invitational tournament nearly broke them into the CHSAAnow.com Class 3A rankings that were released on Tuesday, pushed its way past the Class 4A Demons (3-2) in more ways than one.
After the Titans fully controlled the first set, Coal Ridge rallied from six down in the second set, then scored the final six points of the third and decisive set to come back from as many as seven points down.
It’s the second consecutive match the Titans have had to rally in to win. Coal Ridge beat Steamboat Springs in three sets on Saturday on the final day of the Demon Invite.
“Most of those kids know from playing together in eighth grade that they can come back and win,” Coal Ridge coach Scott Black said. “We’ve done it a lot of times. And I told them that.
“Twice we were down [big] in rally scoring and still came back to win,” the coach continued. “That’s tough to do.”
Glenwood made it tough, especially on defense. Junior libero Morley Perrin had 22 digs and Taylor Kontour added 13 digs, as most of the Titans’ points in the second and third sets came on long rallies. Coal Ridge, however, had a balanced offensive attack, led by Davis’ 13 kills, Maggie Bell’s 26 assists and a 10-kill, two-ace, five-block performance from Paige Ryan.
That balanced attack is what paved the way to victory in the third set for the Titans, who were down 23-19 before rallying to win.
“We stopped trusting one another,” Glenwood Springs coach Sarah Ryan said. “They know where each other is on the court. And they know if they miss it, the other person behind them has got it. And when they stop trusting one another, they start looking around at each other, and that’s it.”
That wasn’t the case for the Demons at the start of the second set, though.
A stuff block from senior Delaney Gaddis, followed by a kill from Jamie Crowley, capped an 8-2 run which gave the Demons a 17-11 lead. But he Titans chipped away, using a kill from Davis and a stuff block from Ryan to spark a 7-1 run to end the set and give Coal Ridge a two-set advantage.
The Demons went up by as much as 11-4 in the third set on a kill from Kontour, but a pair of kills from Jaclyn Collins were part of a 6-1 Coal Ridge run which knotted the set at 19-19.
Kontour’s kill on the ensuing serve followed a long rally and was the first of four consecutive points for the Demons, putting them ahead, 23-19.
Coal Ridge didn’t quit, however, and the Titans’ 6-0 run, capped by Davis’ final kill of the match, capped the victory over the Demons.
Gaddis finished with a team-high eight kills and Laura McDermott added five kills for Glenwood, which plays a non-league match at Grand Junction Central on Thursday. Coal Ridge, which got four digs from junior libero Leah Kanakaraj, will open Class 3A Western Slope League play at Grand Valley, also on Thursday.