| PostIndependent.com

Roaring Fork volleyball falls to Olathe in 4 sets

The Roaring Fork girls volleyball team jumped out to a 25-23 first-game victory in Saturday evening’s Western Slope League matchup with the visiting Olathe Pirates, but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates came storming back to take the next three games by scores of 25-22, 25-19, and 25-17 to take the match win by a 3-1 count.

Olathe got off to quick starts in all four of the conference games. A 9-6 lead in game number one was countered by the serving of Ram junior Letey Crownhart who did some hard, pinpoint serving to stake the Rams to a 10-9 advantage.

Roaring Fork continued to lead the opening game at 17-14 with consistent defensive play and communication near the net. The final touches on the game one victory came for the Rams when junior Grace Jardine and senior Isabella Hernandez recorded kills to give the Rams a quick jump out of the gates.

Game number two was a back and forth affair with neither team ever able to gain much separation on the other. Once again, the Rams spotted Olathe an early 5-1 lead, but came charging back as junior Lily Nieslanik had a nice run at the service line to bring Roaring Fork back to just a 5-4 deficit.

Junior Sydney Schramer recorded a kill to make it 13-12 in favor of the Pirates. Roaring Fork came all the way back as the front-line of Schramer, Jardine, and Nieslanik kept the Pirate offense at bay. Senior Ruby Fuller put the Rams up 19-15 with a service ace, but Pirate Aylin Ramirez got hot at the service line, leading Olathe on a decisive scoring stretch that the Rams had no answer for.

Following the game two loss, Roaring Fork seemed to get out of sync on both the offensive and defensive end of things. Several Ram miscues led to Pirate runs in the match’s final two games.

As had been the case all night long, Olathe jumped out to a 6-0 lead in game number three, forcing Rams head coach Karen Crownhart to signal for a timeout. Following the stoppage in play, Schramer stuffed one over the net, and Nieslanik and Jardine spiked a couple of winners to bring the Rams to within 20-16, but the momentum was short-lived as Olathe closed out the game at 25-19.

The final game of the match was all Pirates as a 4-1 Olathe margin grew to 10-6, and then 14-7 to help the visitors take command of things early on. When Pirate Daisey Ibarra recorded a kill to put Olathe up 18-9, the hole was too deep for Roaring Fork to work its way out of.

With the home loss, the Rams drop to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the WSL. Another stern test awaits Roaring Fork, as they host the Coal Ridge Titans next Tuesday night, Sept. 17, in Carbondale.

sports@postindependent.com

Glenwood girls place 2nd, boys place 9th at Eagle Valley Invite

Competing in Gypsum Saturday morning at the Eagle Valley Invitational, the Glenwood Springs Demons girls cross country team had a very strong day, placing 2nd out of 17 schools, while the boys placed 9th out of 16 schools. Rifle’s boys placed 10th, while Coal Ridge’s boys placed 12th, and Grand Valley’s boys placed 14th. Coal Ridge’s girls placed 13th, while Rifle and Grand Valley didn’t have enough runners to qualify for team scores for the girls.

In the girls race, standout Basalt runner Sierra Bowser cruised to the win, crossing the line in 18:07.20, winning by nearly 24 seconds. Glenwood had a pair of runners finish in the top 5 as sophomore Ella Johnson placed 4th with a time of 19:00.30, while freshman Sophia Connerton-Nevin placed 5th with a time of 19:09.20.

Glenwood sophomore Alexa Helms turned in a top 20 finish to help the Demon girls place 2nd, crossing the finish line 7th with at time of 20:40.10. Teammate Maya Elias, a junior, placed 25th with a time of 21:03.90. Fellow junior Sophia Vigil finished 29th with a time of 21:20.50, while sophomore Emma Barsness placed 36th with a time of 21:48.90. Junior Matilda Barth and sophomore Alicia Lowe placed 54th and 55th with times of 22:34.90 and 22:35.40 for the Demons, rounding out a strong day in the top 60 for Glenwood under head coach Justin Baum.

Rifle’s girls team saw junior Karisa Coombs get on the board early, placing 31st for the Bears with a time of 21:27.20. Sophomore Audrey Abbott placed 88th on the day with a time of 24:05.80.

For Coal Ridge, sophomore Araceli Ayala was the highest finisher for the Titans under head coach Chris Oz, placing 59th with a time of 22:47.10, while sophomores Haven Prodzinski (114th, 25:13.20) and Natalie Smythe (121st, 25:39.60) closed out the day with top 125 finishes.

In the boys race, Rifle junior Jonathan Hernandez was the first local runner to cross the line on the day, finishing 24th on the day with a time of 18:00.10, while Glenwood sophomore Quinn MacPherson finished closely behind Hernandez in 28th with a time of 18:10.30. MacPherson’s teammate, junior Dalton Deter, finished 30th for the Demons with a time of 18:14.50, while standout Coal Ridge freshman Tyler Parker placed 31st with a time of 18:14.80.

Glenwood junior William Berkheimer clocked a time of 18:31.20 to finish 36th, while Rifle sophomore Patrick Whitt placed 44th with a time of 18:54.20.

Rifle sophomore Jace Coller had a strong day for the Bears, placing 49th with a time of 19:02.30, while sophomore teammate Adrian Valerio placed 76th with a time of 19:56.00. Grand Valley junior Nikolai Stammer got the Cardinals on the board with a 79th-place finish, crossing the line with a time of 20:00.70, while Glenwood junior Alec Nykerk closed out the day for local runners with a 92nd-place finish in 20:20.10.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Summit 3, Rifle 2

The Rifle Bears volleyball team continues to improve in a big way this season. They’re still searching for the improvement in the win column though.

Hosting the Summit Tigers Saturday afternoon at Rifle High School to open up 4A Western Slope League play, the Bears pushed the Tigers to 5 sets, before ultimately losing in 5 sets 25-22, 10-25, 13-25, 25-13, and 11-15.

“We lost, but it was an amazing battle,” Caitlin Brady, Rifle’s second-year head coach said. “We haven’t done this well in league games in years. We are finally starting to learn to fight for each point and are realizing that we can compete in this 4A league.”

Against the Tigers, Mackenzie Elizardo and Maddy Valencia paced the Bears with 5 kills each, while Katelyn Mentink set the ball 55 times on the day and picked up 7 assists. Cora McMillan led the Bears with 8 blocks.

Rifle (3-7) travels to Glenwood Springs Tuesday for a rivalry matchup with the Demons at 6:30 p.m.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Ivan Gallardo’s 4 second-half goals leads Coal Ridge to 6-1 win over Telluride

Coal Ridge’s boys soccer team was very frustrated at halftime Saturday morning.

The Titans dominated play throughout the first half against the visiting Telluride Miners, yet Coal Ridge found itself trailing 1-0 on one shot before knotting the game up heading into the half.

Possession was grossly lopsided in favor of Coal Ridge, yet the Titans couldn’t finish chances in the final third, which had been a problem early in the season coming into Saturday’s matchup.

Senior team captain and striker Ivan Gallardo, who led the Titans in goals last season with 17, was visibly frustrated at the break. Fortunately for Coal Ridge, the senior captain turned that frustration into jubilation in the second half, scoring 4 second-half goals in an offensive eruption, carrying the Titans to a 6-1 win over the Miners on the final day of Coal Ridge’s home soccer tournament.

“I started checking more, and we started playing more possession instead of playing the ball over the top,” Gallardo said.

That possession kicked in right away as Gallardo finished off a great combination play from sophomore Eduardo Salazar, freshman Ezra Williams, and sophomore Tony Ayala, allowing Gallardo to slip behind Telluride’s defense for an off-balanced shot into the upper right corner of the net, stunning the Miners and setting into motion an offensive onslaught for Coal Ridge.

Thanks to a fired up halftime speech from head coach Michael Mikalakis, and timely leadership from Gallardo, the Titans turned on the jets and put away the Miners for good.

Shortly after taking a 2-1 lead, Gallardo made it 3-1 41 seconds later, tracking down a throughball behind the Miners’ back line, firing the shot past Telluride’s diving keeper, turning a close game in scoreboard only into a rout.

Just over two minutes later, Gallardo struck again as the Miners turned ball over in the final third. Coal Ridge senior JP Gallardo settled the ball, flicked a pass into the air and let Gallardo run under it, getting his left foot onto the ball in the air right before Telluride’s goalkeeper could get his hands on it, pushing the lead to 4-1 with more than 34 minutes left to go in the game.

“I said at the half that it was unbelievable we were dominating the way we were and just not finishing,” Mikalakis said following the 6-1 win. “We were dominating the back third, the middle third, and the front third, and nothing was happening on the scoreboard for us. Obviously that changed in the second half.”

Gallardo made it 5-1 with just under 30 minutes to go in the game, tracking down another throughball to slip his fourth goal of the half – and of the game – past the helpless Telluride goalkeeper, putting Saturday’s tilt out of reach for the Miners.

What was once a grimace across the senior’s face in the first half was a smile as wide as the valley as the senior helped flip the script, pushing his teammates to victory.

“Ivan’s a very passionate player and person,” Mikalakis said. “Once we can channel that passion the right way, he’s a wonderful player. That’s a key for him. Once he sees one go in, it’s a very positive change for not only himself, but the team as well.”

After Gallardo’s fourth goal found the back of the net, the final nail drove into the coffin of Telluride’s chances on the day as the Titans kept up the pressure and dominated the ball, suffocating Telluride’s offensive attack, forcing the ball back the other way for scoring chance after scoring chance.

Midway through the second half, junior Jack Price put the exclamation point on the win, firing home a penalty kick drawn by freshman James Webber, sending the Miners home dejected. Webber scored the Titans’ lone tally in the first half, tracking down a throughball from Ayala, slipping his shot inside the near post down the right wing with 8:52 left in the first half, getting the Titans back to even at 1-1.

The win pushes Coal Ridge to 2-2 on the season. Coal Ridge travels to Salida Thursday to take on a top 10 team in 3A, before then returning home Saturday for a tough showdown with 5A Mullen.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Basalt football shuts down Battle Mountain, moves to 2-0 on season

Carl Frerichs was worried about his defense coming into the season, considering it lost so much talent. Maybe not worried, but very much aware of the physical skillsets that graduated and needed to be replaced.

Then came Saturday afternoon when the Basalt High School football coach watched the Longhorns physically dominate visiting Battle Mountain to the tune of a 28-0 win on the BHS field, and nothing seemed all that out of place.

“We lost a lot of good hitters. We lost all of our linebackers, our D-ends — I have one D-end that I moved inside — so I’m really proud of the kids for flying around and they are just playing aggressive football,” Frerichs said. “If they do their jobs we expect good things out of them and they are doing assignment football where good things are happening.”

As it’s been for a few years now, Basalt’s defense was its strength last season, recording five shutouts and holding three others to single digits en route to a 9-2 season and trip to the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

On paper, Saturday’s matchup with the Huskies looked like it would make for a competitive game. Class 3A Battle Mountain entered the game 2-0 with wins over Middle Park (27-23) and Alameda (49-0), but Basalt didn’t let them become much of a factor in the Longhorns’ home opener.

After trading a few early punts, Basalt took a 7-0 lead on a short touchdown run by sophomore Gavin Webb. The halftime score was 14-0 after another short TD run, this time by sophomore Cole Dombrowski in the second quarter.

The second half remained a heavy dose of running the ball and a stifling defense for the Longhorns. Junior quarterback Matty Gillis capped off the first drive of the half with a 1-yard TD run, while Dombrowski scored his second touchdown when he broke loose for a score in the fourth quarter.

“Cole Dombrowski, our running back, ran extremely hard today. I think there was a huge growth from Game 1 to Game 2,” Frerichs said. “The offensive line is coming together. I just feel like both our fullbacks, Gavin and Peter Zimmer, are running really hard. Again, I’m really proud of Matty — zero turnovers. I just think that’s gigantic when he’s getting zero turnovers in those games.”

Dombrowski led the way with 78 yards and two scores on 22 carries. Webb had 45 yards rushing and a score on 10 carries. Gillis was 8 of 18 passing for 108 yards, with senior receiver Jackson Rapaport catching six of those passes for 80 yards.

Battle Mountain’s best drive came late in the third quarter down 21-0 when it was stopped on fourth-and-short at Basalt’s 15-yard-line.

Sophomore Sam Sherry was credited with 12 total tackles (seven solo), while Rapaport and senior Ernesto Lopez had a sack each.

“Penalties are one thing we definitely need to work on. Our kids are definitely playing hard, though,” Frerichs said. “So we’ll look at film and see exactly what it is. But not too disappointed. But against better teams we definitely got to clean it up.”

Battle Mountain (2-1) heads to Moffat County next week, one of Basalt’s 2A Western Slope League foes. The Longhorns (2-0), who beat Olathe 29-7 in their season opener, will travel to Pagosa Springs on Friday. Pagosa is 1-2 aver beating Centauri on Friday, 28-20. The Pirates have losses to Durango (47-0) and La Junta (19-7), the defending 2A state champion.

“They are going to be tough,” Frerichs said of Pagosa. “They run the triple option. Truthfully, we are really excited about this win and we’ll start thinking about Pagosa (Saturday night) and tomorrow.”

Aspen played on Friday, losing 42-20 to Meeker to fall to 0-2 overall. The Skiers next play Friday at Class 1A Cedaredge (1-1).

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Harrison dominates second-half possession, hangs on for 20-13 win over Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs’ defense is surely gassed after that one.

The Demons’ defense was on the field for nearly 18 minutes in the second half Friday night against the Harrison Panthers’ physical offense, but Glenwood’s fast, physical defense held strong throughout the grueling second half.

Unfortunately for Glenwood, the offense couldn’t quite put together that one drive the Demons needed in the second to take the lead or tie it up late, falling to the visiting Panthers 20-13, dropping to 0-2 on the season.

“Honestly, our defense is playing lights out right now; I’m pretty pleased with them,” Pat Engle, Glenwood’s second-year head coach said. “They looked pretty good tonight. I bet they were on the field for 16 or 18 of the 24 minutes in the second half for sure. They certainly played well and gave us multiple chances in the end.”

Heading into the half, Glenwood was in great position to pick up its first win of the season in the home opener as the Demons scored a late touchdown to make it 14-13 on a 4-yard run from senior fullback Elliott Walz. However, the missed extra point loomed large heading into the locker room.

Coming out of the break, Harrison took the opening kickoff and reeled off an 18-play drive that ultimately ended in a turnover on downs at the Glenwood 20-yard line with just 2:43 left in the third quarter.

On that opening drive, a 15-yard pass from junior quarterback Jaseim Mitchell to junior wide receiver Kahli Dotison, and a 13-yard hook-up from Mitchell to Dotison moved the chains, while a personal foul on Glenwood Springs also assisted Harrison in marching down the field.

However, Glenwood’s defense stood tall in a sign of things to come in the second half as Glenwood junior defensive end Camden Hassell sacked Mitchell for an 8-yard loss, forcing Harrison into a 4th and 30 before turning the football over on downs at the 20-yard line.

As the defense stood tall and ultimately got the stops it needed to, Glenwood’s offense couldn’t get out of neutral in the second half.

Following the turnover on downs by Harrison, Glenwood took over at the 20-yard line and proceeded to lose 7 yards on a holding penalty and a sack before junior running back Garrett Dollahan picked up 14 yards on 3rd and 17, giving senior punter Patrick Young room to kick, flipping the field in favor of Glenwood’s defense.

Once again though, Harrison mounted another lengthy, time-consuming drive going 62 yards in 11 plays before senior running back Romeo Wells plowed into the end zone from 5 yards out to make it 20-13 Harrison after a failed 2-point conversion with 8:24 left in the game. Harrison’s scoring drive was aided by a personal foul late hit out of bounds by a Glenwood defender on Mitchell’s 16-yard scramble on 2nd and 15, pushing the Panthers well into Demon territory.

Trailing by one score, the Glenwood offense again couldn’t get going as Dollahan had a tough time handling a high pitch from senior quarterback Dylan Albright, losing 8 yards, ultimately leading to another punt from Young.

At that point in the game, roughly 5:53 remained on the night, but Glenwood’s defense had a few more stops in them.

Glenwood forced a quick 3-and-out, giving the Demons’ offense the ball back, but on 2nd and 9 near midfield after a pass interference call on Harrison, Albright hooked up with sophomore running back Blake Nieslanik in the left flat for a gain of 2 yards. Held up by a defender after the catch, Nieslanik had the ball ripped way from him as the Panthers recovered for what surely should have been the game-deciding play.

Instead, Glenwood’s defense played hero one more time, forcing a fumble by Harrison senior running back Timmy Evans, who was injured on the play, giving the Demons the ball back with just under 2 minutes to play at their own 17-yard line.

Albright kept the potential game-tying drive alive with a 4th and 1 scramble to move the chains, before firing deep to junior tight end Wheatley Nieslanik down the right sideline for 30 yards, giving Glenwood hope on the night.

That would be the last completion on the night though for Albright, as the senior quarterback misfired on his final 4 attempts, giving the Panthers back the ball to kneel out the win.

“With the type of offense that we run, you cannot put the football on the ground; you just can’t,” Engle said after the loss. “You can’t have false starts and holding calls, and things like that. We just have to be a bit more disciplined offensively and not turn the ball over so much, putting us in situations like that at the end of the game.”

Prior to the tough second half, Glenwood’s offense looked solid in the home debut, as Blake Nieslanik took the first play of the game 44 yards down the left sideline, igniting the home crowd. That would be it for fireworks on the first drive though as Nieslanik later fumbled on 3rd and 6 at the Harrison 22, ending the scoring threat for the Demons.

Taking advantage of the early turnover, Harrison marched 80 yards in 8 plays thanks to a 12-yard run by Wells, a 22-yard pass from Mitchell to senior Matthew Robinson, and a 23-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to junior Seth Fuller, who tapped his toes in the back of the end zone for the game’s opening score.

Trailing 6-0 late in the first quarter, Glenwood’s defense made the first great play of the game as Hassell and senior linebacker Thor Melby combined to sack Mitchell deep in his own territory while popping the football free. Dollahan recovered, setting Glenwood up with a 1st and goal at the Harrison 6-yard line.

Two plays later, Albright snuck in from a yard out, and junior kicker Tyler Thomas drilled the extra point attempt, giving the Demons a 7-6 lead with 11:55 left in the second quarter.

Two possessions later, Glenwood failed to convert on a fake punt, giving Harrison great field position. Mitchell then found Fuller again, this time on a double move down the right sideline for the 18-yard touchdown on 4th and 10. Mitchell then converted the 2-point conversion, giving the Panthers a 14-7 lead with just under 6 minutes left in the first half.

That’s when Walz scored to make it 14-13 at the half, setting up the physical second half.

In the loss, Blake Nieslanik rushed for 60 yards on 9 carries and added 2 catches for 41 yards, while Dollahan gained 34 yards on 7 carries. Walz added 22 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 4 carries. Albright completed 5-of-13 passes for 82 yards. The senior also added 15 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

Harrison’s Wells rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Mitchell completed 8-of-15 passes for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to Fuller on the night.

Glenwood Springs (0-2) travels to Conifer next Friday for a matchup with the Lobos at 7 p.m.

“This is all a process; we’re not going to duck anyone,” Engle said. “We’re playing much better football early in the season right now; the boys have put in a ton of work. Unfortunately, we’re just not getting the return right now. You just have to keep working though; you can’t lose faith in what we’re doing. Their time’s coming.”

jcarney@postindependent.com

PREP ROUNDUP: Coal Ridge football falters in second half, loses to Hotchkiss 7-6; Coal Ridge soccer drops overtime loss to Fruita Monument, 1-0

The Coal Ridge Titans football team took a 6-0 lead into the half Friday night at home in New Castle against the visiting Hotchkiss Bulldogs, thanks to a pass from Karsen Dubois to Kobe Wild, but that would be it on the night for the Titans’ offense as the Bulldogs came back in the second half to pick up the 7-6 win on the road.

Coal Ridge had one final possession late in the game with under 2 minutes to go, but Coal Ridge’s offense found itself in a 4th and 23, turning the ball over on downs, giving the Bulldogs the win.

The Titans fall to 1-2 on the season. Coal Ridge returns to action next Friday at Paonia before entering their bye week.

BOYS SOCCER

Fruita Monument 1, Coal Ridge 0

Hosting the Fruita Monument Wildcats Friday afternoon at ‘The Pasture’ in New Castle, Coal Ridge’s boys soccer team dropped a tough 1-0 decision to the Wildcats in overtime, pushing the Titans into the third-place game of their home tournament.

Coal Ridge (1-2) takes on Telluride Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the third-place game.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

St. Mary’s Academy 2, Grand Valley 0

Grand Valley 2, Golden View Classical Academy 0

On the road Friday for Day One of the Jefferson Academy volleyball tournament, the Grand Valley Cardinals’ girls volleyball team split its two games, dropping a 2-0 decision to St. Mary’s in the tournament opener, before bouncing back for a 2-0 win over Golden View Classical Academy in the second game.

Against St. Mary’s, Grand Valley fell by scores of 25-11 and 26-24.

Against Golden View Classical Academy, Grand Valley won by scores of 25-6 and 25-12.

jcarney@postindependent.com

PREP ROUNDUPS: Coal Ridge volleyball sweeps Moffat County; Rifle softball pounds Delta, 14-2

Hosting the Moffat County Bulldogs Thursday night in New Castle, the Coal Ridge Titans girls volleyball team rolled to an impressive sweep of the Bulldogs in the 3A Western Slope League opener, winning by scores of 25-14, 25-18, and 25-17.

Against the Bulldogs, junior Phoebe Young had a great night, leading the Titans with 10 kills and 10 assists, pairing with junior middle hitter and captain Taylor Wiescamp and her 8 kills, 4 blocks and 2 aces to pace the Titans’ attack.

Senior captain Lyanna Nevarez chipped in with 9 digs, 4 kills and 2 blocks for the Titans in the sweep, while junior Brecken Guccini added 10 kills and 5 digs, and junior Ari Cornejo added 11 assists and 4 digs.

Senior captain Taylor Roberts rounded out a strong night for the Titans with 6 digs and 2 aces.

Coal Ridge (4-2, 1-0 in 3A WSL) travels to Roaring Fork Tuesday, Sept. 17, for a 3A Western Slope League battle at 6:30 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Glenwood Springs 3, Battle Mountain 0

On the road Thursday night for a 4A Western Slope League tilt with the rival Battle Mountain Huskies, the Glenwood Springs Demons girls volleyball team swept the Huskies, continuing a strong run of play early in the season under interim head coach Jason Obreque.

Glenwood topped Battle Mountain by scores of 25-18, 25-11 and 25-11.

Against the Huskies, senior Emily Nilsson led the way with 20 assists, 9 digs, 5 kills and 2 aces, while senior Kaitlyn Johnson added 12 kills, 12 digs and 3 aces to pace the Demons.

Junior Reese Goluba chipped in with 12 digs, while senior Shanik Zambrano added 12 digs and 4 kills in the win.

Junior Kiah Larson added 4 blocks, while sophomore Kenzie Winder added 4 kills.

Glenwood Springs (5-2, 1-0 in 4A WSL) hosts the Rifle Bears Tuesday, Sept. 17, inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m.

SOFTBALL

Rifle 14, Delta 2

Rifle softball continued its torrid start to the season Thursday by 12-running the visiting Delta Panthers at Taughenbaugh Field, winning 14-2 to improve to 9-2 on the season, moving to within 7 games of tying the school record for wins in a season set last year, with 13 games remaining.

Against the Panthers, senior Hannah Bodrogi turned in a dominant performance for the Bears, picking up a complete-game win on the mound, striking out 8 hitters on the night while allowing just 3 hits.

At the plate, Bodrogi singled, doubled, reached on a hit by pitch, scored 3 runs and drove in a run of her own.

Senior Delaney Phillips also had a great day at the plate, hitting a single and double, drew a walk, scored 2 runs, drove in 2 runs and stole a base in the win. Junior Abigail Bonuales hit two singles, reached base twice on errors, scored 2 runs and drove in a run to help pace the Rifle offense, while sophomore Emma Poole doubled, singled, walked, scored a run and drove in 2 runs in the win.

Senior Zoe Loya, junior Raelynn Hampton, and sophomore Jade Croy also singled in the win.

Rifle (9-2, 2-0 in 4A WSL) hosts Palisade Tuesday, Sept. 17, in a 4A Western Slope League rivalry matchup at 6 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

Battle Mountain 4, Rifle 1

Traveling to Edwards Thursday afternoon for a 4A Western Slope League matchup with the Battle Mountain Huskies, the Rifle Bears soccer team hung tough against the defending league champions as Rifle trailed 1-0 at the half and were tied 1-1 into the 65th minute before the Huskies pulled away late.

Senior captain Paul Cerros scored the lone goal of the game for the Bears.

The loss drops Rifle to 2-2 (2-1 in 4A WSL) on the season. Rifle is off for more than a week before traveling to Steamboat Springs Saturday, Sept. 21, for a game against the Sailors at 11 a.m.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Angel Bernal’s late goal leads Glenwood Springs soccer over Montrose, 1-0

Glenwood senior forward Angel Bernal skied high in the box to head home the decisive goal with just under 12 minutes remaining Thursday night at Stubler Memorial Field, sending the Demons to a 1-0 win over the visiting Montrose Indians in nonleague action.

The regular season redemption tour continued for the Demons, as Glenwood avenged last season’s loss at Montrose with a win Thursday night. Glenwood opened the regular season with a win over Durango after losing in Durango last season to open up the year.

It certainly wasn’t pretty against Montrose, but the Demons continued to stay focused and play relentless soccer while leaning on a superb defense, ultimately leading to the one chance they needed late, capitalizing for the win.

“I saw a lot of determination and focus, and I saw a mentality that weren’t going to give up a goal,” Wayne Smith, Glenwood’s veteran head coach, said. “It’s reminded me of the way that they played in our playoff run last year. We’ve given up one goal in four games; we’re not scoring many goals, but our defense has been terrific, and we find a way to defend at a high level and get that one goal that we need.”

Prior to Bernal’s heroics, senior captain and center back Mitchell Burt was the hero much of the night, pairing with younger brother and freshman center back Cameron Burt, senior right back Aidan Partch, and senior left back Edwin Francia to stymie Montrose’s attack all night long. The Indians had just four shots on goal all night, which was a testament to standout play from the back line once again.

“I can’t say enough about our back line,” Smith said. “Mitchell was tremendous tonight, and his younger brother Cameron did a great job tonight as well. The whole group was terrific; they deserve a lot of credit for tonight’s outcome.”

Montrose’s best chance of the night came midway through the second half as senior forward Bryan Delgado shook free from the back line and darted after a ball played over the top of the Glenwood defense. Delgado found himself all alone with the ball as he closed in on Glenwood goalkeeper Carlos Guardado with a chance to take the lead. Out of nowhere though, Burt — a three-year varsity player for the Demons — tracked down Delgado and slid in front of his shot attempt, blocking the ball away from danger, igniting the home crowd.

Burt, a first-team 4A Western Slope League and second-team All-State player last season, made a difficult play look routine, which has come to be the norm for the senior captain, who is quickly staking a claim for the best center back on the Western Slope.

“He’s got great vision, great technique, and great closing speed,” Smith said. “He’s going to do it cleanly and do it effectively. A lot of kids just can’t do that. He just has the mentality to make every play back there.”

As the defense stood tall much of the night, Glenwood’s high-powered attack continued its struggles to find the back of the net early in the season.

Glenwood controlled possession throughout the night, keeping Montrose pinned in its own end, but when the chances came, the Demons couldn’t finish in the final third.

Senior forward German Alvarado, Glenwood’s leading goal scorer last season, had the best chance of the first half around the midway mark, racing to a throughball from Cameron Burt to break in on Montrose goalkeeper Greg Sheya. Alvarado let loose a right-footed blast that had promise, but the shot was just wide right, keeping the game knotted at 0-0. Sophomore forward Reid Swanson then had two great chances late in the first half, but the young forward also couldn’t get two shots in close past Sheya, sending the two teams into the break scoreless.

Coming out of the half, Montrose nearly struck first as senior Jorge Baeza found himself wide open on the doorstep of Glenwood’s goal after a great run along the end line by Delgado. Baeza had all the time in the world to slot home the shot for the lead, but the senior rushed his left-footed shot from in close, sailing Montrose’s best chance high over the crossbar as the Glenwood faithful breathed a sigh of relief.

Shortly after, Bernal skied for the icebreaker with 11:55 left in the game.

“We kind of like Angel’s height, and he plays pretty physical,” Smith said. “When we play teams with big back lines like we did tonight, he can really take advantage in those situations; that’s definitely one of his strengths.”

Holding a 1-0 lead, Glenwood’s defense clamped down even tighter on Montrose’s attack, frustrating the veteran Indians into some silly yellow cards, allowing the Demons to pick up the 1-0 win at home, pushing their season record to 4-0.

“The boys have that mentality; they know what it takes to make a deep playoff run,” Smith said. “My words are coming back to haunt me because I always say it takes one goal to win a soccer game. If we defend and possess the ball like we have so far this year, I’d feel a lot more comfortable capitalizing on a few more chances, we’ll be fine. We have the experience in one-goal games, dating back to our playoff run. It’s working for us; it’s not the most comfortable way to win, but we have the experience in these types of games.”

Glenwood (4-0) travels to Grand Junction Central Saturday morning to take on the Warriors in a nonleague matchup at 11 a.m.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Aspen volleyball falls in four sets to Roaring Fork in season opener

By the time the Aspen High School volleyball team found a way to dictate the pace of the game, it was too late. Despite a valiant rally in the fourth set, the Skiers lost 3-1 on Thursday to Roaring Fork in what was Aspen’s season opener inside the AHS gymnasium.

“I didn’t expect a perfect start or game to begin with, but how they ended is how they should have started,” first-year coach Brittany Zanin said. “They really were playing the other team’s game and only started setting the pace and setting the tone in the fourth game. And at that point it was just a little too late.”

The Rams, playing for the fourth time already this season, were a little crisper from the start against an Aspen group that had little varsity experience coming in. Despite a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, the Skiers failed to keep up and eventually lost 25-18. They answered in a big way in the second set, winning 25-20 to even the match at a set apiece.

Leading 24-21 in the critical third set, the Skiers squandered a golden opportunity as the Rams scored the final five points to win 26-24 and take the 2-1 lead.

“I’ll take the win all the time, but I think the win was not because of our volleyball,” Zanin said of the third set. “We can play way better than that, and I want to win playing our game, setting our pace with our energy. Not playing off of somebody else.”

Aspen came out flat in the fourth set and trailed 24-8 before the magic kicked in. With junior Meghann Smiddy serving, Aspen ripped off a 13-0 run to pull within three points before the Rams could put the match away.

Roaring Fork improved to 2-2 overall after the non-league win. The Rams also beat Rifle, 3-2, with losses to Telluride (3-1) and Moffat County (3-1).

“I was impressed by them. They were scrappy; they played great,” Zanin said of Roaring Fork. She was equally as impressed with her own team’s effort over that final run. “They are finding a way to talk to each other in a way that’s going to move things forward, which is great. That’s the positive out of this.”

Aspen (0-1) next plays Saturday at Moffat County.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Glenwood volleyball rolls to 3-1 win over Grand Junction

Glenwood Spring senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Johnson had enough.

Johnson and the rest of the Demons had a great chance to take a 2-0 lead against the visiting Grand Junction Tigers Tuesday night inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium, but instead the Demons’ girls volleyball team gave away a 20-15 lead, losing 25-20. That collapse in the second set lit a fire under the senior captain.

In the third and fourth sets, Johnson absolutely dominated for the Demons, leading the Demons to wins by scores of 25-9 and 25-19 to put away the Tigers in the official regular season opener for both teams.

Johnson had 6 aces, 6 kills, and 3 blocks in the final two sets, pushing the Demons across the finish line.

“I remember when Kaitlyn was much younger, she had a tough time controlling her serves and her demeanor on the court; it was night and day tonight, though,” Jason Obreque, Glenwood’s interim head coach in place of Kehau Rust, who is on maternity leave, said following the win. “She’s emerged into a great leader for this team.”

Glenwood needed to right the ship after two tough losses at home Saturday on the final day of the Demon Invitational. The first set was a good start at shaking off the losses as Glenwood and Grand Junction traded points early until the Demons pulled away to make it 14-8 on a pair of aces from senior middle hitter Emily Nilsson. A kill by sophomore Charlotte Olszewski and a perfectly placed tip by Nilsson later made it 21-10 before back-to-back kills from senior Shanik Zambrano closed out the 25-10 first-set win.

The Demons rolled into the second set with the momentum gained in the back half of the first set as Glenwood jumped out to a 10-6 lead on an ace from Nilsson and a kill from junior Kiah Larson. An ace from Johnson and a kill from sophomore Kenzie Winder then made it 17-13, before the Demons forced a couple of errors from the Tigers to make it 20-15.

That’s when the comeback for Grand Junction and the collapse for Glenwood Springs started.

The Demons allowed the Tigers back into the second set with a pair of net violations and a couple of long volleys, while the Tigers received a trio of aces from senior Sage Skinner, making it a 21-20 game. From there, the Demons struggled to stop the onslaught, eventually losing on another net violation, knotting things up at 1-1.

“We stopped paying attention to what their defense was doing,” Obreque said. “They adjusted their defense and we didn’t adjust our offense, and things started to turn for them.”

What looked to be a second set win on the way to a potential sweep suddenly vanished, as the Demons found themselves tied at 1-1 with the Tigers holding all of the momentum.

A quick, calming message in between the second and third sets from Obreque settled the Demons down, though, leading to two straight set wins.

“I told the girls what I’ve told them in practice over and over: one game is one game, just start over and keep pushing,” Obreque said.

Thanks to Johnson, Nilsson and Zambrano, the Demons pushed back in a big way, taming the Tigers for the 3-1 win.

In the third set, Glenwood raced out to a 16-6 lead as Johnson had 2 aces and 4 kills, while Nilsson and Zambrano combined for 1 ace and 2 kills, pacing the Glenwood attack. Grand Junction tried to rally as senior Kate Hayde recorded a thunderous kill to make it 17-7, sparking the Tigers’ bench, but 2 kills from Zambrano, and a kill and an ace from Johnson finished off the third set with Glenwood on top 25-9.

The fourth and final set was another fast start for Glenwood as the Demons recorded 5 aces in the game’s first 10 points, putting a ton of breathing room between themselves and the Tigers in the deciding set. Johnson and junior Reese Goluba led the way as servers, placing the ball wherever they wanted, giving the Tigers’ defense fits.

“One thing as a coach that I like to emphasize is serve receive and serve,” Obreque said. “That’s something we work on consistently in practice, and they’ve steadily been getting so much better. Kaitlyn can place a ball pretty much anywhere I tell her to, and she’s consistent with it; that really helps.”

A kill from Zambrano and a tip into the heart of the Tiger defense by Nilsson capped off the 25-19 win, giving Glenwood the win over Grand Junction, pushing the Demons to 4-2 on the year.

“This was a great game for us to open the regular season with, “ Obreque said. “This was a chance for the girls to work on letting go of losses, reset, and get back to the basics of the game.”

The Demons travel to Battle Mountain Thursday night to take on the Huskies at 6:30 p.m. in a 4A Western Slope League tilt.

jcarney@postindependent.com