Coal Ridge, Grand Valley: new coaches, big squads
Post Independent Staff
It turns out Coal Ridge and Grand Valley have a lot in common as the 2005 high school volleyball season opens this week.
The head coaches of both schools coached at other schools last year, and both had strong turnouts for the first day of practice.
Coal Ridge, the new kid on the block, has 30 players in the gym.
First-year Grand Valley coach Scott Carpenter and his staff are working with 39 athletes ” the highest turnout at GVHS in recent years.
With so many similarities, it’s fitting the Titans and Cardinals are kicking off the 2005 season against each other.
That match occurs Sept. 3 when both hook up for the first match of pool play in the Grand Valley Invitational Tournament in Parachute.
When asked, Carpenter and Titans coach Denise Greene also have the same goal in mind this year as well: Strive for steady improvement as the season progresses.
“We have lots of kids who are really good athletes who haven’t played a lot of volleyball,” Greene said. “If they want to dedicate themselves to volleyball, we can have some great players here in a few years.”
Most players on the Titan roster are freshmen, but one sophomore, Callie Schlegal, a transfer from Wyoming, has left an impression on Greene at the team’s early workouts.
“She’s big, a good passer, a good hitter and just an all-around good player,” Greene said of Schlegal.
The rest of the team, Greene added, is starting to take shape, but it’s too early to determine the starting six.
“We’ll be competitive at the 2A level. We just have a lot of work to do,” said Greene. “They have to understand offense and defense as a team ” they’re not real used to that. It’s been challenging, and it’s been pretty fun.”
Carpenter is equally high on the Cardinals.
“I’ve seen a lot of things that have excited me so far,” he said. “They are really starting to develop. We’ve got some girls who had a tough time last year. Now, they’re crushing the ball.”
Senior Patty Angel is the lone returning veteran from last season’s 8-10 club. Carpenter has slotted Angel as one of the team’s outside hitters.
She will be complemented by senior newcomers Shannon Dunn, Melinda Johnson and Heather Jay.
“Our front row should be our strength,” Carpenter said. Johnson is slated for middle hitter, Dunn is the Cardinals’ No. 1 setter, and Jay is an outside hitter.
Among the underclassmen, sophomores Whitney Ashcraft and Amanda Gunter, along with Sherry Mlakar, could see considerable playing time throughout the year.
Like his Coal Ridge counterpart, Carpenter plans to use the early part of the schedule to build team confidence.
“We’re young, and we’re new. We’ve got two girls who played varsity last year, and they weren’t starters,” Carpenter said. “Right now wins aren’t the big thing for our team. My goal is for us to play well. That’s what I told them. If we play well, the wins will come.”
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.