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Bears volleyball team out of hibernation

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photoRifle Bears' volleyball team are all smiles after beating Delta for their first league win since 2003.
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RIFLE, Colorado ” Fans flooded onto the court. Tears flowed down the cheeks of virtually everyone on hand.

Five years of frustration ” the kind more than 50 straight league losses creates ” were joyfully vanquished.

With a four-game win over Delta in its home gym last Thursday, Rifle’s volleyball team won its first 4A Western Slope League match since 2003.



And it was well worth the wait.

“It feels good to be on the team that did it,” junior Brianna Bascom said. “Five years is a long time. We really wanted to prove to everyone that we could win.”



After dropping the first game against Delta, the Bears showed a newfound resilience that carried them to wins in the next three games. It was a resolve that Rifle coach Geneva Farr and her team have long tried to uncover.

For once, though, everything came together.

“Everything we’ve been fighting against the last four seasons, we did well,” said Farr, the Bears’ fifth-year coach. “These girls can’t say they can’t do it any more. They have done it.”

“We know we can win now,” senior Sandy Samson said. “I think we always could have. We just never put it all together. We never finished.”

Case in point: a Sept. 11 match at Moffat County. Rifle took a two-game lead on the Bulldogs before unraveling and dropping the next three games ” and the match.

While devastating, that match served as the impetus for what would follow. It served notice that the 2008 Bears were good enough to contend for a league win.

“That’s the game that gave us the confidence to beat Delta,” senior Amber Lyons said. “We knew we had it in is.”

“We learned to never give up,” sophomore Adrienne Schmidt added, “to keep pushing, when we’re ahead and behind.”

The feeling of finishing off an opponent was like none other for much of the varsity squad responsible.

The entire team dropped by the school office the next morning to deliver the news to their peers via intercom, and Farr found her phone inundated with congratulatory calls and messages.

All that followed a downright euphoric post-match atmosphere.

“After we won that match it was like we won the state championship,” Farr recalled. “Everybody from the stands was on the floor. They loved it. It was fabulous.”

“I’ve never seen everyone in the gym crying at once,” junior Abby Rath joked.

Winning’s an experience Rifle hopes to recreate a few more times before the season’s up.

And at least one Bear feels the tools are firmly in place to do just that.

“I think we have everything we need,” Lyons said. “We just have to keep our heads up and, when we get down by two points, not let our heads down.”

Until that second win comes, the Bears will continue to savor that long-sought streak snapper against Delta.

“It all worked out,” junior Kalli Leigh said. “Somehow it just all came together.”


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