Coal Ridge sweeps Ridgway behind Morgan’s big day
Post Independent Sports Editor
The Coal Ridge Titans girls volleyball program is back on track.
Following a tough showing last weekend at the Glenwood Springs Demons Invitational, the Titans bounced back this week, sweeping Moffat County Thursday night, before keeping that roll going Saturday afternoon at Coal Ridge High School, sweeping the Ridgway Demons 25-7, 25-15 and 25-20.
“I think we’ve played a lot different than we played last weekend,” said Aimee Gerber, Coal Ridge’s head coach. “I think we played with a lot more consistency, and we’re starting to serve well. Our offense is firing on all cylinders, and we stayed out of the net today. The things we’ve stressed all week, they’ve showed in our last two games.”
The Titans rolled to the three-set sweep thanks to a terrific performance from senior Kara Morgan and sophomore Taylor Wiescamp, and strong serving all game long, jumping all over the Demons early.
Tied at 3-3 early in the first set, the Titans embarked on an 8-0 run to take an 11-3 lead as aces from junior Taylor Roberts and sophomore Phoebe Young, and a combination block from sophomore Brecken Guccini and Morgan paced the Titans. Coal Ridge later made it 18-6 thanks to two straight aces from senior Kenzie Crawford, allowing the Titans to pull away for good. An ace from senior Maddie Ellison capped off the Titans’ first set win as Coal Ridge had six aces in the first set.
Saturday’s successes in the serving department was a big improvement from the previous weekend when the Titans struggled to put the ball in play with serves. A lot of work in practice over the last week has righted the ship for the Titans.
“We’ve been charting serves in practice, and emphasizing how important serves are,” said Aimee Gerber, Coal Ridge’s head coach. “I’m holding them accountable when it comes to serving, and making them focus. They have 90 feet to put the ball on the court. I don’t mind trading aces for outs occasionally, but that has to be after we’ve already put some points up. The girls were much better today serving then we have been to start the season.”
Following the first-set win, the Titans came out in set two slowly, allowing the Demons to take a 6-4 lead. Coal Ridge then kicked it into gear, going on a 10-1 run, as Roberts recorded an ace, Morgan came through with a thunderous kill, and Young recorded an ace, igniting the Titans’ offense.
Coal Ridge later stretched the lead to 20-12 as Wiescamp and Morgan came through with kills. Ridgway slowed the Titans’ roll as sophomore Shelby Sisler placed a tipped ball over the net for a big point for the Demons, making it a 21-13 game.
The Titans quickly ended the match though, as Guccini recorded an ace on set point, giving the Titans a 25-20 win.
In the third and final set, the Titans ran into some trouble, as the Demons matched them point for point throughout the set. Coal Ridge pulled away briefly for a 17-10 lead thanks to an ace from Roberts, but moments later Ridgway’s Bailey Gilliam recorded an ace to make it 17-11. Ridgway began to claw back into the set, taking advantage of some Titan mistakes, making it an 18-16 game, but Wiescamp came through with a tip into open space, giving the Titans a 19-16 lead.
Ridgway continued to push, making it a 23-20 game, forcing a Coal Ridge timeout.
“Obviously I was frustrated in that timeout because we as a team need to learn to rely on who’s on the court,” Gerber said. “I’m trying to get them to understand that. We have to be able to rotate players in and out and not have a drop in play.”
Following the brief stoppage, the Titans received two big kills from junior Lyanna Nevarez, giving the Titans a 25-20 win and the sweep.
In the win, Morgan led the way with 12 kills, 2 blocks and 8 digs. Crawford recorded 36 assists, 3 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces. Wiescamp had 11 kills and 2 blocks, while Nevarez had 5 kills and 4 digs.
The Titans (4-3, 1-0 3A Western Slope League) host the Roaring Fork Rams Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in a league matchup.