Cards hang on to beat DeBeque |

Cards hang on to beat DeBeque

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE – The lead dropped from 18-9 to 18-17. Then 19-19. As a big lead slipped away, first-year coach Jenni Hirneisen told her team to “control everything.”Her Grand Valley Cardinals responded, doing just that down the stretch of Thursday’s non-league match with visiting DeBeque, finishing off the visiting Dragons in three games (25-21, 25-13, 25-23).Though the aforementioned DeBeque charge came late in the match and with the host Cards up two games to none, Hirneisen understands the importance of a killer instinct. “Finishing would be amazing,” said the former Colorado State University volleyball player, charged with rebuilding a program that’s struggled in recent years.Though Grand Valley let the Dragons hover within striking distance in the first and third games, the Cards made the middle game a blowout and, all in all, are looking good with Class 2A Western Slope League play slated to start tonight at Rangely.”I think we’re ready,” Hirneisen said. “We have a lot of improvements to make but I think they’ll peak at the right time. They’re coming along like I hoped.”Senior Lauren Schubert is surely among those motoring strong. She buoyed the Cardinals’ net attack with eight kills. Caitlin Brady, Whitney Ashcraft and Karmen Stiemel also figured in hugely in Thursday’s win, chipping in with three kills apiece. Sophomore Tiffany Waugh proved instrumental in quarterbacking the offense from the setter position, racking up 23 assists and a block.Freshman Samantha James had a big night at the service line, smacking three aces.Grand Valley is seeing contributions from throughout its roster, regardless of age.”We’ve got a lot of underclassmen stepping up and filling positions,” Hirneisen, whose team improved to 3-4 overall, said, “and a lot of senior leadership.”Tia Lynch led Class 1A DeBeque with 10 kills and a pair of aces.

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