Rams headed for state tournament
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – A regional championship proved just out of reach for the Roaring Fork High School volleyball team on Saturday. However, a berth in the Class 3A State Tournament, the Rams feel, is a heck of a consolation prize.
“We’re still going to the state tournament,” a smiling Rams coach Carrie Schultz said following her team’s 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11 loss to St. Mary’s (22-3) of Colorado Springs in what proved to be the 3A Region C Tournament title game.
Despite the loss, Roaring Fork (23-2 overall) came away from the four-team, round-robin event with a lot more than a second-place trophy. The tournament served as a tune up for the upcoming state tournament, scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 at the Denver Coliseum.
“We played three very competitive teams,” Schultz said. “This is the most competitive volleyball we’ve played all season, and it’s going to do nothing but prepare us for [this] week.”
Roaring Fork earned the regional’s No. 2 seed with the loss to St. Mary’s, which will take the region’s top seed into the two-day tournament. Pairings for the eight-team tournament will be determined by the Colorado High School Activities Association today.
“It’s a bummer that we lost that match,” said Roaring fork senior Landon Garvik, who racked up 27 kills and eight stuff-blocks in the five-game loss to the Pirates. “But the good news is that the loss doesn’t hurt us, other than where we’re seeded in the tournament. But we’re going to state, and we’re going to make the best of our situation there.”
Roaring Fork earned a trip to state thanks to a 26-24, 25-13, 25-15 victory over the regional’s third-seeded team, Colorado Academy, and opened the tournament by sweeping Jefferson Academy 25-10, 25-15, 25-24. Against the Pirates, however, the Rams had to rally, and hold off a few rallies, to push the match to a fifth and decisive game.
“I just knew going in that we were pretty even with Roaring Fork, and you can see that in us going five games,” St. Mary’s coach Melissa Sweeney said. “It was great to win it, but it was also nice to be able to get each other ready for state.”
Senior setter Kylie Cornella had 34 assists, sophomore Bria Sweeney finished with 16 kills and fellow sophomore Sarah Tentschert chipped in 12 kills, six service aces and a pair of stuff-blocks to lead the Pirates, who finished with 13 aces and 11 stuff-blocks as a team. Contributing for Roaring Fork, along with Garvik, was senior setter Joey Clingan (32 assists) and sophomore Megan Gianinetti (15 kills, six stuff-blocks).
Roaring Fork pulled to within 23-20 in the third game when a stuff-block from Gianinetti capped a 6-1 Roaring Fork run, but a pair of kills from Sweeney on two of the ensuing three serves moved St. Mary’s a win away from sealing it. The Rams held off a rally of their own in the fourth game, watching a 21-15 lead dwindle to 24-23 on another Sweeney kill before a kill from Garvik sent the match into the decisive fifth game.
St. Mary’s stormed out to an early advantage in the fifth game, as three Hannah Stockelman aces capped a 7-0 game-opening run. The Rams roared back as another kill from Garvik capped an 8-2 Roaring Fork run that pulled the Rams within 9-8, but four more kills down the stretch helped the Pirates pull away.
“We’ve been able to rally in the past, but sometimes we might rely on that a little bit more than we should,” Garvik said. “This time we just didn’t pull through.”
The Rams’ win against Colorado Academy – the one that earned them their state tournament berth – featured a rally that didn’t fall short. The Mustangs’ Alex Sadler had a kill that put Colorado Academy ahead 24-19 in the first game.
Taylor Adams responded with a kill for Roaring Fork on the next serve, which sparked a 7-0 run which ended with a service ace from Ixchel Muniz.
“We tend to play roller-coaster volleyball, where we play down, then up, then down, then up again,” Schultz said. “We need to play more consistent than that in the tournament, and I think we learned that.”
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