Cardinals finish off Rifle in four games |

Cardinals finish off Rifle in four games

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – Erin Reider has never coached a team quite as resilient as the Rifle volleyball squad she’s currently charged with leading.

“The thing that’s different about this team is that they don’t get down when they get behind,” the first-year varsity head coach said. “They will fight and they will come back.”

Reider’s Bears did just that on Tuesday, looking overmatched against a long Grand Valley front line in Game 1 and 2 losses before bouncing back with a win in Game 3.

Then, trailing 23-16 in the fourth game, Rifle rattled off four straight points to put a little pressure on the Cardinals.

The late surge didn’t result in a win, but Reider believes it’s a sign her Bears are coming around.

“They fought hard,” she said. “I would much rather lose with them fighting than laying down.”

Behind nine kills from Jessica Bell, the Cardinals kept Rifle from completing its comeback. Karsyn Valencia and Jazmin McFarland chipped in with six kills apiece as Grand Valley scored a 25-14, 25-16, 14-25, 25-21 win on the road.

“Our passing was good,” said Bell, a senior. “Our setting was a little off, but we definitely crushed the ball in the end.”

The Cardinals, who improved to 6-4 overall and to 6-3 in the 3A Western Slope League, cruised in the first two games, opening up big leads early and keeping the pressure on.

An 8-0 run – with Kristen Schubert at the service line for seven of the points – gave Grand Valley an insurmountable 18-8 lead in the opening game.

The Cardinals quickly turned a 12-all tie into a 23-13 lead in the second.

With his team ahead, Grand Valley coach Dave Walck switched things up in the third game.

“Some kids who are normally in the front row were in the back row,” he said. “That caused a little bit of trouble, but we need to work through that. … That gave us some things we need to work on.”

Rifle ran away with the third game, which, at one point, was tied at 10.

The teams fought to six tie counts in the fourth game before the Cardinals polished off the victory.

Chelsea Neely finished with 12 digs to lead the Grand Valley defense. Schubert and McFarland finished with 10 apiece. Haley Johnson had five aces.

Nicole LaRose and Melissa Crow swatted six kills apiece to pace Rifle, now 1-11 overall and 1-10 in the 3A WSL.

Racheal Keithley finished with a match-high six blocks. Libero Adrienne Schmidt had 22 digs and Lauren Potter belted three aces.

The Bears picked up their first win of the season at Hotchkiss on Saturday, beating the Bulldogs in three (25-17, 26-24, 25-17).

“The girls were definitely still on a high from that,” Reider said. “It was a big win, especially on the road. We had some girls gone for various reasons and that’s what is nice about this team. They’re finally starting to figure out that it doesn’t matter which six are on the court. Everybody can contribute.”

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