Aspen volleyball falls in four sets to Roaring Fork in season opener
By the time the Aspen High School volleyball team found a way to dictate the pace of the game, it was too late. Despite a valiant rally in the fourth set, the Skiers lost 3-1 on Thursday to Roaring Fork in what was Aspen’s season opener inside the AHS gymnasium.
“I didn’t expect a perfect start or game to begin with, but how they ended is how they should have started,” first-year coach Brittany Zanin said. “They really were playing the other team’s game and only started setting the pace and setting the tone in the fourth game. And at that point it was just a little too late.”
The Rams, playing for the fourth time already this season, were a little crisper from the start against an Aspen group that had little varsity experience coming in. Despite a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, the Skiers failed to keep up and eventually lost 25-18. They answered in a big way in the second set, winning 25-20 to even the match at a set apiece.
Leading 24-21 in the critical third set, the Skiers squandered a golden opportunity as the Rams scored the final five points to win 26-24 and take the 2-1 lead.
“I’ll take the win all the time, but I think the win was not because of our volleyball,” Zanin said of the third set. “We can play way better than that, and I want to win playing our game, setting our pace with our energy. Not playing off of somebody else.”
Aspen came out flat in the fourth set and trailed 24-8 before the magic kicked in. With junior Meghann Smiddy serving, Aspen ripped off a 13-0 run to pull within three points before the Rams could put the match away.
Roaring Fork improved to 2-2 overall after the non-league win. The Rams also beat Rifle, 3-2, with losses to Telluride (3-1) and Moffat County (3-1).
“I was impressed by them. They were scrappy; they played great,” Zanin said of Roaring Fork. She was equally as impressed with her own team’s effort over that final run. “They are finding a way to talk to each other in a way that’s going to move things forward, which is great. That’s the positive out of this.”
Aspen (0-1) next plays Saturday at Moffat County.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.