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Demons runners-up at Regionals

STERLING – Coming into the Class 4A Region A tournament Saturday, the one goal of the Glenwood Springs volleyball team was to keep its season going. Mission accomplished. The Demons went 2-1 on the day with wins over Niwot and Palisade, but lost to tournament champion Sterling to claim the tournament’s runner-up spot and a berth in next week’s Class 4A state tournament.”We came in knowing we had to win two,” said coach Scott Nykerk. “We focused on those two wins. It feels good; this team has been there before.”This will be the Demon’s third consecutive trip to the state tournament. The formula for regional success was the same one the Demons have relied on all year – feed the ball to middle hitters Leah Hinkey and Leanna Lawson and win games with offensive spurts. The Demons had some trouble in their second match of the tournament. Against Sterling, Hinkey aggravated a left ankle injury in the first game, limiting her effectiveness the rest of the day. Glenwood lost that match, 25-15, 25-15, 25-21, and Hinkey had only 11 kills. “I didn’t have enough energy,” Hinkey said of the Sterling match. “I felt like I was sucking energy out. I couldn’t put any in. I wasn’t as vocal as I usually am.”Hinkey’s injury enabled Sterling to dominate at the net, using middle hitters Schylur Edelman and Danielle Minch as rocket launchers for kills. Still, the Demons were able to claw their way to a 7-1 lead to open the third game. “The whole team dropped off after the injury,” Nykerk said. “After that it was like, ‘Oh no.'”The Demons opened the tournament by beating Palisade for the third time this season. Though it was by the slimmest of margins, Glenwood Springs got the sweep, 25-20, 27-25, 26-24. “They say the toughest thing to do is beat a team three times in a season,” Nykerk said. “But we came in knowing we would have to beat Palisade to advance.”Hinkey had 20 kills, Lawson eight and Kristy Collins five against Palisade. The win ultimately put Glenwood Springs in the state tournament, as Niwot went 0-3 on the day and Palisade also lost to Sterling. demons: see page 12demons: from page 11Officially, though, it took a solid effort against Niwot for the Demons to move on. Glenwood Springs dominated every aspect of the match, winning 25-15, 25-19, 25-12. Against the Cougars, Hinkey had 20 kills and Lawson added eight.The third game was tied 3-all early on, but the Demons went on a 14-3 run to open a 17-6 lead. From there the rest was a formality. After the 3-3 tie, Glenwood Springs outscored Niwot 22-9 the rest of the way. “The bad was the up-and-down play,” Nykerk said. “Every single match we played in spurts. I was happy when we were playing well. We played good volleyball.”The Demons played good enough volleyball to keep their state title hopes alive. For a team with six seniors – Lawson, Hinkey, Collins, Courtney Sutherland, Cheree Carver and Tobie Rippy – who have been playing together since middle school, it was too early to end the season. So they had to advance. And they did.


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