Cardinals play well enough
Post Independent Sports Editor
RIFLE — Grand Valley High School’s volleyball team didn’t play well for every second of its nonleague match against the Rifle Bears on Tuesday. The Cardinals just played well when they really needed to.
Kyra Chenoweth had a match-high 11 kills and freshman setter Kylyn Rigsby had 28 assists and 10 digs for the Cardinals, who rallied from a six-point deficit in the fifth set to earn a 17-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 15-11 victory over Rifle in the Bears Den.
“I don’t know that we did what we needed to do all the time,” Grand Valley coach David Walck said. “It’s great to get the win, but I want us to play well all the time. I don’t know that we played well all the time.”
Grand Valley (2-4 overall) played well in spurts, holding on to an early lead it built in the fourth set to force a fifth and decisive set. That came despite an improved blocking attack from the Bears (4-3), who were coming off a three-set loss to Battle Mountain this past Saturday.
“Unfortunately, I think we lost confidence in ourselves as the match wore on,” Rifle coach Erin Reider said. “It seems like we get down, and, if they get two or three good serves on us, we tend to shut down.”
Chenoweth had a spurt of three aces in four serves in the fourth set, but the Bears used a big run to come a set away from winning the match. Jordan Cody and Leah Antonelli each had seven kills to go with a 19-assist outing from Sarah McCutchen, but 10 kills from Grand Valley’s Megan Smith and a nine-kill, three-block outing from Jordan Scott helped the Cardinals rally.
“We definitely fought hard,” Chenoweth said. “Toward the end, we definitely brought up the intensity, we fought hard for each other and came together as one.”
Rifle came together in the third set, using a 10-2 run to rally from an 11-7 deficit on their way to a third-set win. Rifle had to rally to pull even with the Cardinals at 11-all in the fourth set, but a kill from Scott sparked a modest four-point run that helped Grand Valley force a fifth set.
The Bears were the ones who dominated early on there, as a stuff-block from Katelyn Shanahan and Annie Schmidt capped a 6-1 run to start the set. But a kill from Chenoweth down the baseline knotted the score at 6-all, and successive kills from Smith and Scott gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
Rifle will host a match against Class 3A Western Slope League opponent Basalt on Thursday. Grand Valley plays its league opener on Saturday at home against Gunnison.
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