Rams hoping to pick up where they left off in 3A | PostIndependent.com

Rams hoping to pick up where they left off in 3A

CARBONDALE – Winning seven of its last 10 matches to close the regular season, Roaring Fork’s volleyball squad finished 2008 as one of the 3A Western Slope League’s hottest teams.

With players like Niki Burns and Landon Garvik leading the way, the Rams hope to start 2009 in the same fashion.

“I think we’re really trying to pick up where we left off,” second-year coach Carrie Shultz said. “We’re setting our goals high for the season. We were a pretty young team last year. As we mature, that should give us the experience to hopefully win those tight games in the end, some of the games we weren’t able to win last year.”

With five sophomores (Burns and Garvik among them) logging major court time, the Rams finished 11-11 overall last year, wrapping their season with a 1-2 showing at the 3A District 6 tournament.

Ixchel Muniz, Savanna Phibbs and Joey Clingan comprise the rest of that now-junior fivesome. They’ll join senior Alli Zeigel as the team’s leaders.

Shultz could also see contributions from some youngsters.

“We have our sophomore class that returns from their freshman year and they’ve improved quite a bit,” the coach said. “We also have a very large freshman class. A lot of those kids are competing really well. We’re excited about the young growth.”

Thanks in part to that big frosh class, Roaring Fork volleyball is in good health in the numbers department. Shultz is thrilled by the turnout.

“We’re looking really good,” she said. “It’s really exciting. We have a huge number of kids that tried out for the whole program – 40 kids in total. We’re really excited about that.”

With schools elsewhere in the 3A WSL suffering big graduation hits, the Rams might just have the firepower to challenge for one of the league’s top spots.

“I definitely think we’ll be competitive,” Shultz said. “I don’t know exactly what to expect across the league. It might be up in the air for anyone to take this year.”

With the coach and the seven seniors that spearheaded the best season in Coal Ridge history gone, the Titans will have a new look in 2009.

Gone is Denise Greene, the program’s head coach the past four years. She was the only coach the school had known until this year.

Also gone are Kelly Romero, Chloe Nelson, Sierra Grove, Brittany Smith, Britney Smith, Kaitlin Moeller and Jessica Needham, staples of a program that went 38-11 the past two seasons and won a 3A Western Slope League title last year.

Stepping in as the Titans’ new coach is Scott Black, a 15-year coaching veteran who had been with the local Defiance Volleyball Club.

He’ll lean on a cast that includes names like Jessica West, Bella Barnum, Christa Currier, Katie Cox, Jill Refior, Samantha Torres, Kathleen Maldonado and Brazilian exchange student Joanna Parente.

It’s a group that Black thinks will hold its own.

“I’m always optimistic,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”

David Walck, who came to Grand Valley after a lengthy and successful stint at Rangely, is looking to help the Cardinals take another stride toward respectability in 2009.

Last season, Grand Valley went 5-14 overall, finishing seventh in the 3A Western Slope League.

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