Coal Ridge knocks off Roaring Fork in thrilling matchup |

Coal Ridge knocks off Roaring Fork in thrilling matchup

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Denise Greene knew Roaring Fork had some big hitters coming through its volleyball program.

As Defiance Volleyball Club’s director and Coal Ridge’s head coach, she’s more than dialed in to the Western Slope’s youth scene.

So it was no surprise to Greene that her Coal Ridge spikers found their hands full in a Saturday night match at Roaring Fork. It took her team five games ” and a comeback or three ” but the Titans eventually did knock off the upstart Rams 19-25, 25-18, 9-25, 25-14, 15-10.

Roaring Fork’s one-two sophomore punch of Landon Garvick and Niki Burns ” both big hitters and forces at the net ” kept Coal Ridge on its toes. Garvick led her team with 13 kills while Burns bashed 10.

“I run the club program, so I know all these girls,” Greene said. “I’m not surprised.”

Luckily for Greene, her Titans countered with a multi-headed punch of their own. Chloe Nelson slammed down eight kills, Brittany Smith seven and Kaitlin Moeller and Jessica Needham five apiece.

After the emotional roller coaster of a match that saw Coal Ridge twice fall behind by a game and then drop into a 7-3 hole in the decisive fifth game, Moeller wore her relief in the form of a smile. She credited the team’s never-say-die resolve for fueling the comebacks.

“Before each game we just grouped up and said this is a whole new game. All zeroes,” said Moeller, who had two kills and a key block in that fateful fifth game. “We focus on each play, each ball, each game. We focus on the now.”

The approach worked, as the Titans improved to 3-0 overall and to 2-0 in the 3A Western Slope League.

For Roaring Fork, a team coming off a 5-13 season in 2007, Saturday’s match served as a second consecutive heartbreaker. The Rams won the opening game against Basalt before dropping the next three ” and the match ” in a showdown with defending league champion Longhorns on Thursday.

With a young team, first-year Roaring Fork coach Carrie Shultz understands matches like Thursday’s and Saturday’s are all part of the learning process.

“I don’t want to harp on experience, but we’re a young team,” said Shultz, whose Rams were facing last year’s 3A WSL runner-up in Coal Ridge. “It is experience against a team like that that turns it into a win. As much as you try, you can’t simulate those kinds of matches in practice.”

Roaring Fork dropped to 1-2, overall and in league play.

ASPEN, Colorado ” Coal Ridge started its upvalley day of volleyball in the early afternoon on Saturday with a trip to Aspen.

The Titans beat up on the Skiers in what was their 3A WSL opener, winning by counts of 25-18, 25-11, 25-12.

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