Key players return for Coal Ridge volleyball in pursuit of third straight title
Head Coach: Aimee Gerber, fifth year (10th overall at the school)
Last Season: 16-9 (9-0 in 3A Western Slope League, regular season champions), lost at Platte Valley in 3A regionals
Key Returners: Taylor Weiscamp, Jr.; Taylor Roberts, Sr.; Lyanna Nevarez, Sr.; Phoebe Young, Jr.; Brecken Guccini, Jr.
Players to Watch: Ari Cornejo, Jr.; Maya Mercado, Jr.; Kallie Bumgardner, Jr.; Peyton Garrison, So.; Sydney Stephens, Jr.
Coal Ridge’s volleyball program has been the picture of dominance during veteran head coach Aimee Gerber’s tenure in New Castle.
Last season, the Titans won their second straight 3A Western Slope League championship, and third in four seasons behind the 3A WSL Player of the Year, Kara Morgan. The dominant outside hitter moved on to the collegiate ranks, as did standout setter Kenzie Crawford, do-everything Alexa Wiescamp, and three other seniors.
That exodus of talent could hurt most programs, but not Coal Ridge’s for the upcoming season, thanks to a strong class of juniors and two experienced seniors returning this fall.
Standout middle hitter Taylor Wiescamp looks to take her game to the next level this fall under Gerber, while Lyanna Nevarez, Phoebe Young, and Brecken Guccini provide terrific support around the dominant middle hitter. Senior Taylor Roberts brings veteran experience into the fold as well, giving Gerber a strong foundation on which to build on for the 2019 season.
“I definitely think we have a good shot at making a run for the league title again,” Gerber said prior to the start of fall practices. “I would love to see us get a shot at having a regional tournament at home again, and getting back to the state tournament.”
Last season, the Titans ran through the league, dropping just one set in league action in nine matches. Tough news for the rest of the 3A WSL is that a large group of the team from last season returns.
“This core has six or seven girls that are going to be juniors, so we’re young on paper, but we’re experienced,” Gerber said. “They’re extremely competitive, and extremely athletic. We’re moving some girls around, but we’re really excited with the talent we have while implementing a new system. I’m hoping the fact that they were young when they were getting a chance last year, that that experience will help them out this year.
“We’re on a mission this year; our goal is to get back to state.”
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.