Demons pull away late from Bears to sweep rivalry matchup
The build-up to Friday night’s rivalry matchup between the Glenwood Springs Demons and Rifle Bears inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium was a long time coming during Day 2 of the Demon Invitational, so when the whistle blew to start the match, there was a palpable buzz inside the packed gym.
The two teams certainly didn’t disappoint.
In a two-set thriller that was highly competitive, the host Demons came out on top of the Bears by scores of 25-20 and 25-14 to improve to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in pool play of their home invitational.
Starting the rivalry matchup, the Demons seemed to come out with a real sense of urgency against the Bears as the tournament host roared out to a 10-3 lead over Rifle as senior Maya Erickson picked up two big kills, while senior Tye Wedhorn added two kills of her own to give the Demons the early seven-point lead.
Following a quick Rifle timeout, the Demons continued to stay hot as senior Kassidi Johnson added a big kill of her own, while senior Mary Fuller added a block to stretch the Demon lead to 13-4.
A block from Rifle senior Alexis Dormio stopped the Glenwood run, but a serving error by Rifle on the ensuing point gave the momentum right back to the Demons where a perfectly-placed tip from junior Ashley Emery made it 15-6 Glenwood.
Later in the set, kills from Rifle seniors Eve Miller and Shalynn Smith and a great tip by junior Kyla Gray pulled the Bears to within 19-11, hinting at a possible comeback.
Glenwood then stretched its lead to 21-14 on a kill by Wedhorn before the Bears made their move, storming all the way back to pull within four at 24-20 thanks to some errors by Glenwood and two huge kills by junior Rose Mastrud.
With the gym buzzing and all the pressure on Glenwood late in the set with Rifle serving, the Bears looked to take advantage of the newfound life in the set, but a serving error on match-point gave Glenwood the set win, 25-20.
“I think the whole day was rough for us,” Glenwood head coach Kehau Rust said. “They were at the gym since noon and had been sitting around and watching, waiting to play. They waited seven and a half hours just to touch a volleyball, and I think that had a lot to do with the first set. Plus, I think the mental thing about playing Rifle played a part. But they came together tonight and figured it out.”
After falling just short in its comeback attempt in set one, Rifle came out firing in the second set, sticking with the Demons point-for-point early on before a block by Dormio stretched the Rifle lead to 8-6 over Glenwood.
A kill by Miller made it 9-7 Bears, but from there the Demons turned things around in a big way as Wedhorn got the comeback started with two booming kills before Emery recorded an ace to tie the score at 11-all.
A net violation on Rifle two points later gave Glenwood a 13-11 lead, and that was all it took for the Demons to not look back as they pulled away for a 25-14 win over the Bears.
In the second set, junior Baylee Johnson came up clutch for Glenwood, recording two late kills to cap off the win, showing that the junior can be relied upon this season on the outside.
“I thought Baylee was awesome,” Rust said. “She’s originally a setter that has transitioned to hitter for us this year, so I thought it was huge from her tonight. Every time she’s on the court she knows its her time to show what she can do, and she really stepped up for us tonight when we needed her. She proved it.”
The Demons will take on Roaring Fork on Saturday morning at 10 a.m., while the Bears will square off with the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers at 9 a.m.
ROARING FORK 2, MONTEZUMA-CORTEZ 0
Matching up with the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers on Friday afternoon inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School, the young Roaring Fork Rams’ girls volleyball team pulled off a thrilling two-set sweep over the Panthers by scores of 25-17 and 25-23 to pick up its first win of the young season at the Demon Invitational.
In the first set, Roaring Fork raced out to a 9-3 lead as senior Lily Nichols dominated as a server, picking up three early aces to force a Panther timeout. Coming out of the break, the Rams stayed hot as senior Reece Ettelson recorded a kill to make it 12-4 Rams before Cortez’s Lanae Dragswolf picked up a kill for the Panthers to make it 13-8 forcing a Roaring Fork timeout.
Following the Rams’ quick timeout, the Panthers stormed back to pull to within one at 15-14, forcing another Ram timeout to get things straightened out.
Fortunately for the Rams, the timeout worked as Roaring Fork pulled away to take a 22-16 lead to force a Cortez timeout late in the set.
A serving error by the Panthers would end the set a few points later, giving the Rams a 25-17 win, setting up an intense second set.
In the second set, the two teams stayed close the entire time with neither team holding a lead of more than three points at any given moment. Late in the second set a kill from Cortez’s Aryelle Wright tied the set at 17-all. A serving error by Cortez made it 18-17 Rams, but two quick points by the Panthers forced a quick Roaring Fork timeout trailing 19-18.
Coming out of the break, Cortez stretched its lead to 21-18 on a long volley by the Rams, but that would be it for the mistakes by the young Roaring Fork squad under second-year head coach Donna Bratcher as the blue and gold came battling all the way back to win the set 25-23, thanks to a big ace by junior Kendall Bernot and some terrific net play by junior Gaby Santana, sweeping the Panthers in the second game of the tournament fro the Rams.
“Their communication was a lot better today,” Bratcher said. “They brought their individual talents and put them together as a team.”
In the win, junior libero Logan Erickson turned in a terrific performance, recording 18 digs in just two sets.
The Rams will match up with the host Glenwood Springs Demons on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
CARDINALS SWEPT BY THUNDER, SAILORS
In its first action in the Demon Invitational on Friday afternoon, the Grand Valley Cardinals’ girls volleyball team dropped straight-set sweeps to Denver Christian and Steamboat Springs by scores of 12-25 and 13-25 to Denver Christian and 15-25 and 12-25 to Steamboat Springs.
Against the Sailors in the second match of the day for the Cardinals, the young Grand Valley squad stayed close with the veteran Sailors in the first set, pulling to within five at 12-7 thanks to a combination block by sophomore Loghan Teter and junior Kurra Hitt, but from there the Sailors pulled away for the 10-point win as senior Micah Feeley took over down the stretch at the net.
In the second set, Steamboat raced out to a 7-3 lead before the Cardinals came storming back to pull to within five points at 13-8 thanks to an ace by senior Katrina Knudson, but it would be all Steamboat from there as the Sailors went on a 12-4 run to pull away for the 25-12 win.
Following two matches on Friday afternoon, the Cardinals will return to Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium on Saturday morning for a matchup with the Pagosa Springs Pirates at 9 a.m.