It’s been a while, but Demons are back at regionals |

It’s been a while, but Demons are back at regionals

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Stacey James Special to the Post IndependentGlenwood Springs High School's volleyball team celebrates its win over Delta in last weekend's 4A District 7 tournament.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Not expecting to play another match, Cassidy Gaddis had already packed away her volleyball gear.

With a win over Delta in Saturday’s Class 4A District 7 tournament semifinal, Gaddis’ Glenwood Springs High School teammates sent her searching for her stuff.

“I had put all this stuff away,” said Gaddis, who fractured her foot midway through the season. “Then we got second at districts, so I get to play again. I went to the doctor and got cleared [this week].”

With a second-place finish at the Palisade High-hosted district tourney, the Demons (12-11) extended their season. They’ll play in Saturday’s Region B tournament at Windsor.

“It’s exciting being able to play,” Gaddis said. “It’s my senior year.”

This will be Glenwood’s first regional appearance since 2005. And getting here wasn’t easy for the Demons, whose season got off to a turbulent start.

After a loss to Battle Mountain on Oct. 4, Glenwood was 5-8 overall and just 1-5 in 4A Western Slope League play. From there, the Demons played inspired volleyball, winning five of six matches to close out the regular season. They went 2-2 at districts, beating a Delta team they had lost to twice in the regular season.

Mental adjustments made all the difference in salvaging what appeared to be a lost season.

“We just started going out and having fun,” senior Sarah Davis said. “I think that was our biggest weakness that we had to overcome.”

When players finally dropped their guard and stopped worrying about making mistakes, everything changed.

“We started playing the game with more joy,” senior Lexie Warkentin said. “We just started having fun.”

Fun translated into wins, and those wins translated into the Demons’ most successful season in some time.

The talent was always there, Abby Norton said.

“I went to the team camp this summer and I was nervous,” said the senior, who transferred from Basalt High this school year. “They were so good. I didn’t know anybody, but I was really happy to be part of this team.”

And Sarah Ryan, in her second year as Glenwood’s head coach, is happy to be coaching this team. She always knew the Demons had something like this in them.

“I’ve always had the best confidence in these girls,” she said. “They can make it all the way to state if they want to. It’s up to them.”

Ryan’s four seniors – Gaddis, Davis, Warkentin and Norton – have a lot to do with her confidence in the team.

“These four girls have really been great leaders, as far as motivating their teammates, supporting their teammates,” she said. “That has a lot to do with it.”

The Demons open Saturday with a 9:15 a.m. match against host Windsor. They’ll face Mullen at approximately 10:30 a.m. and Silver Creek at about 1 p.m. The top two teams advance to the Nov. 11-12 state tournament at Denver Coliseum.

Roaring Fork volleyball coach Carrie Shultz has a team of gym rats on her hands. And that’s far from a bad thing.

“The excitement and energy in the gym is really outstanding,” she said. “Even as long as the season’s been, every day after practice the girls ask to hit a couple more balls, dig a couple more balls, set a couple more sets. That enthusiasm, them wanting to keep getting better, tells me they’re engaged and wanting to win.”

And the Rams are winning. They’ll take a 17-5 record into Saturday’s Class 3A Region C tournament, which will be held at Valley High School in Gilcrest. It’s the Rams’ third straight regional appearance.

Roaring Fork starts its day with a 9 a.m. match against Holy Family. At roughly 12:45 p.m., the Rams will face defending state champion Valley. At approximately 2 p.m., it’s a date with Faith Christian.

“I think we have some good matchups,” Shultz said. “It should be some great volleyball. We’re peaking at the right time.”

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