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Demons, Titans ready to play volleyball

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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It’s a whole new year and a whole new team for Glenwood Springs volleyball.After losing seven seniors from the 2005 squad, which made it to the Class 4A state tournament after posting 13-1 Western Slope record and a 24-5 overall mark, the only thing that remains the same for the 2006 Demons are three returning players and a second-year coach.Scott Nykerk will be coaching Glenwood again, hoping his three returners and six players from the 2005 junior varsity team can continue Glenwood’s legacy of being a force in the WSL.”We lost a lot of seniors. But I have players I am familiar with, so I know who’s coming up and I know what we have to work on,” Nykerk said.Junior Avery Denney is one of the remaining players from last year and will now be playing the defensive specialist for the Demons. The DS, also known as the libero, was allowed in season play last year throughout the state, but the Colorado High School Activities Association ruled that use of the position was not allowed in the playoffs. This year, the position can be used in all games, regular or post season.Denney said it is weird to be on the court without stars Leah Hinkey, Leanna Lawson, Tobie Rippy and Cheree Carver, but she still liked the look of the new team.”It is definitely different, but the work ethic is there and it’s really good to have new people and new experiences,” said Denney, who is not worried about the lack of leadership on the young squad. “I think everyone on the team is a leader just because we are all strong people and strong athletes. It’s going to work. We are going to mesh. We have really good players and I am excited.”Senior outside hitter Heather Smyth and senior middle blocker Summer Sherman join Denney as veterans on the Demons’ 2006 team. With seven seniors last year, Smyth and Sherman learned a lot from watching, but didn’t get much time on the floor. Now this is their year and they plan on taking advantage of it.”Ever since the end of last year we have been so excited for this year. I can’t sleep, I am staying up all night,” Smyth said of her and Sherman’s feelings. “I think we’ll do really good. … Our defense needs a little work, but our offense is doing really good. We just need to get aggressive and have fun with it. It’s all mental for us.”

Junior Chelsea Vallario will play along side Smyth as the other starting hitter and sophomore Toni Gottschalck will be stepping in as another middle blocker. Senior Angie Barber, junior Carly Stillman and sophomore Kelly Lawson will all be competing for the setter spot. No matter who is on the floor, Nykerk said the Demons are going to focus on defense.”We’re not going to scare anyone with our height this year, so we are going to have to play defense first and then get to offense,” Nykerk said.The Demons will jump into their season Sept. 1-2 when they host the Demon Invitational.Coal Ridge TitansCoal Ridge is still young, but now with experienceWith its inaugural season in the books, Coal Ridge is ready for what season number two has to offer.Every Titan who played last year is back, but this year – as sophomores and juniors – they have one year of varsity experience under their belts.”We didn’t lose anybody, so we have lots of experience there. Things are looking good. They are doing well,” said second-year coach Denise Greene. “It’s exciting. It’s a good group.”Even though Coal Ridge will have juniors on its squad this year, helping its height and experience, it will face yet another challenge as it moves up from the Class 2A District 5 League to the Class 3A Western Slope League.

“The girls know what to expect – they know what the level of play is,” Greene said. “They’re varsity again even though we are moving up a division. Until you get into the bigger divisions I don’t really think that it matters that much. The top teams are probably going to be a little stronger, but other than that, it is volleyball. So I think it will be good.”Outside hitters Chloe Nelson and Callie Schlegel will be back to attack for the Titans, and Sierra Grove will return as the team’s setter. Schlegel, one of only four juniors to try out for Coal Ridge’s program, liked how the team worked in tryouts last week and is highly anticipating the start of the season. “I’m so excited – too excited,” Schlegel said. “Coach pushed us a lot, which was good because we needed to earn our spot this year and help everyone else to see what it takes to be on varsity.”Armed with a year of experience, Schlegel believes she, along with her teammates, are at a much higher level because of playing at the varsity level last year.”It also helps skill-wise,” she said. “People our own age – we are doing things better than them just because we have the experience.”Like Glenwood, Coal Ridge also plans on making use of the libero position this season. And Greene found just the person to do it.”Kelly Romero – she’s going to run libero for me and she is just awesome on the court,” Greene said. “She talks and she’s my most vocal leader on the court. She’s the coach on the floor, she’s great.”Greene said the position is specialized and takes a special player, like Romero, to play. For that reason, she isn’t sure whether or not a lot of teams will be using it.”I think it depends. A libero takes a certain kid and if you don’t have that certain kid, you shouldn’t use it because it doesn’t really help you,” she said.Coal Ridge will begin its season Sept. 2 when it travels to the Grand Valley Tournament.



Head Coach: Scott Nykerk, second yearLast Season: 24-5 overall, 13-1 4A WSL, state tournament appearanceReturners: Junior defensive specialist Avery Denney, senior outside hitter Heather Smyth and senior middle blocker Summer Sherman

Head Coach: Denise Greene, second yearLast Season: 1-18 overall, 1-10 Class 2A, District 5Key Returners: Junior outside hitter Callie Schlegel, sophomore libero Kelly Romero, sophomore outside hitter Chloe Nelson, sophomore setter Sierra Grove


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