Demons fall to Devils on emotional Senior Night
It was an emotionally charged atmosphere inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium Thursday, as the seven Glenwood Springs Demons seniors on the girls volleyball team were honored prior to their match with the powerful Eagle Valley Devils.
For the seven Demons seniors that have played so long together, it was difficult to come to grips with the fact that this would be the final home game of their high school careers, but knowing that added extra motivation to attempt to pull off the upset of the visiting Devils.
Unfortunately, the Devils were just too strong at the net and too technical on defense, sweeping the Demons on Senior Night, 16-25, 16-25, 13-25.
Despite being out-matched through the size and strength of the Devils, Glenwood fed off the raw emotion as a unit to keep themselves in the game, thanks to outstanding hustle and great defensive play against Eagle Valley.
“The hustle was just outstanding tonight,” Glenwood Springs head coach Sarah Ryan said. “They ran after every single ball and really every ounce of effort that they had, so that was amazing to watch them do that all night.”
The energy from the gymnasium on Senior Night played into the Demons’ effort against the Devils early on.
Trailing 5-2 after two kills from senior Kenzi Johnson, the Demons kept up with the Devils, forcing them to work hard for every point in the first set.
After a big combo block from senior Blake Fergen and junior Harlee Gonzales brought the crowd to life, Glenwood then received a huge momentum-building kill from Johnson again to pull within three.
However, the Devils stuck to their game and rattled off five of the next seven points, forcing Ryan to call a timeout with the Demons trailing 12-6.
Coming out of the timeout, Johnson and fellow senior Makena Warren combined for a big block at the net to make it 12-7. Senior Megan Mazzotta followed up with a kill to make it 12-8 as things starting rolling for the Demons.
Then, Devils outside hitter Becy Glutova took over the first set.
Placing a perfect touch shot over the net that fell in between scrambling Demons defenders, Glutova went on her own little run. The sophomore had a hand in five of the next eight points for the Devils, who stretched their lead to 20-11.
Gonzales came through with three kills for the Demons to stop the Devils’ run, but Carlee Morrison raked up two quick kills down the stretch to seal the first set win.
Although the Demons were overpowered at the net, they continued to try and get up to block the powerful Devils shots.
“They got up there,” Ryan said. “It’s hard to block someone when they hit that hard. I mean, it’s coming off hard. It’s going to go somewhere, and it’s tough to place against.”
It only got harder from there for the Demons defense.
In the second set, Eagle Valley once again dominated the majority of the set at the net behind Morrison, Glutova and Kylie Martin.
Despite the powerful shots from the trio of Devils, Glenwood’s defense held in there on every shot.
Mazzotta and fellow senior Megan Uren came up with two consecutive digs in a big spot, allowing the Demons to get a kill of their own after transitioning to offense, but a kill from Glutova, a kill from Morrison and a kill from Martin put the Devils in the drivers seat midway through the second set, 19-10.
Another terrific dig from Mazzotta gave the Demons a chance, but Morrison cleaned off the second-set win with two booming kills.
Looking to salvage a set win on Senior Night, the Demons came out strong in set three behind Fergen and senior Chally Korn, who gave the Devils a taste of their own medicine at the net.
Fergen and Korn each came up with huge points at the net, giving Glenwood a 7-6 lead.
With all of the size that Eagle Valley possessed offensively at the net, they didn’t seem prepared for the skill of Fergen and Korn around the net.
“They [Eagle Valley] just weren’t prepared for them [Fergen and Korn],” Ryan said. “Everybody had their moment at the net tonight, and they all played well. That was fun to watch down the line.”
As Fergen and Korn attempted to will the Demons to victory in the final set, the Devils offense got back on track behind the strong trio.
Two kills from Martin and a kill from Morrison gave the Devils the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Martin capped off the three-set win with a booming kill for Eagle Valley.
“Our defense was awesome tonight because they [Eagle Valley] had a tough time finding openings for kills,” Ryan said. “They hung in there all night, which was great to see.”
With the loss, the Demons drop to 6-14 (3-11 4A Western Slope League), while the Devils improve to 16-7 (11-3). Glenwood will hit the road this weekend for a three-game tournament at Evergreen High School to finish up a trying 2015 season.
“I just want them to go and have fun and end on a good note playing with their friends,” Ryan said. “I want them to win and compete as well, but I want them to have some fun because it’s been a long season and they’ve worked so hard, but just haven’t quite put it all together.”
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As the heat of the summer gives way to cooler mornings, summer trail race opportunities are slowly coming to an end.