Better late than never: Demons stave off Palisade comeback for first WSL volleyball victory
Post Independent Sports Editor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Sarah Gray cracked a wry smile on her face following her Glenwood Springs High School volleyball team’s victory over Palisade on Tuesday.
Sure, the Demons’ coach was happy about the final result, a 25-18, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23 Class 4A Western Slope League victory over the Bulldogs. What she wasn’t happy about, however, was how the Demons could easily have swept the match and put Palisade away much sooner than they did.
“They need to learn to finish,” said Gray, who had just gotten out of a prolonged postgame talk with her team. “We were lacking confidence at times, but it was an awesome thing to watch when the girls were playing with confidence. Then we made a couple of mistakes and we started getting down. We can’t have that.”
Granted, Palisade (3-7 overall, 1-2 league play) did everything it could to stay in the match up until the end. That included rallying from a 10-4 deficit to win the third set and nearly rallying from an 18-6 deficit in the fourth set to force a fifth and final set.
That’s when the Demons bore down just when they needed to, though they wish it would have been sooner than that.
“We were moving around and working so well as a team,” said senior setter Delaney Gaddis, speaking of the spurt which gave the Demons their big lead in the fourth set. “Then we stopped talking to each other. That made a big difference.”
Gaddis made a big impact for the Demons, tallying 14 kills, two aces and 20 assists to help Glenwood (4-4, 1-1) claim its first league victory and snap a three-match losing streak. Taylor Kontour added 10 kills for Glenwood.
Alyssa Chotka had nine kills, six stuff-blocks and four aces and Ashlyn Brown contributed eight kills and four blocks for Palisade. Chotka’s net play in the third and fourth set — the fourth especially — helped the Bulldogs stay alive.
Glenwood jumped to a big fourth-set lead, scoring 11 of the first 12 points. Kills from Gaddis and Kontour capped some back-and-fourth play by both teams and gave the Demons a seemingly comfortable 18-6 cushion.
Back came the Bulldogs, though. A stuff-block from Lexi Hall capped a 15-4 run that brought Palisade back from that 12-point deficit to within 22-21. Kontour stepped up big with a kill on the next point for the Demons, and Gaddis followed with a tip kill to leave the Demons at match point. Then after a tip kill from Palisade’s Moriah Rutterbush-Rayment, Kontour’s kill was returned by a Palisade player out of bounds to seal it.
“Coach was right,” Gaddis said. “All I could think of is, ‘Let’s just hurry up and close this out so we can just go home.’”
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