Demons volleyball sweeps Bears in rivalry match
Jump-starting the school-year rivalry between the Glenwood Springs Demons and the Rifle Bears Thursday, the Demons’ girl’s volleyball team picked up a pivotal three-set sweep over the Bears, 25-16, 25-17, 25-16 in a tough 3A Western Slope League matchup inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
With lively student sections on both sides of the court, the two teams battled back and forth through the three sets before Glenwood was able to pull away late in each set for the sweep at home.
Starting things off in set one, Rifle took a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a good play at the net by senior Sydney Wells, but the Demons responded with six straight points to take a 6-1 lead early, igniting the Glenwood student section into a frenzy.
“I was really impressed with our start,” Glenwood Head Coach Dennis Sunderland said. “We talked about coming out quickly since our other two teams didn’t, so we needed to come out with fire and I thought that we did a great job of that.”
Following a quick timeout by Rifle Head Coach Kirsten Noska, the Bears settled down and went on a quick 5-0 run to cut the Glenwood lead to 6-5. Glenwood junior Tye Wedhorn and Rifle senior Kianna Miller traded kills before two kills from Glenwood junior Mary Fuller, one kill by Wedhorn and one kill by junior Saylor Warren extended the Demon lead to 10-7. After some back and forth play, Glenwood pushed its lead to 19-11 before a kill by Wedhorn and a block at the net by Fuller sealed the 25-16 first-set win for the Demons.
“They [Wedhorn and Fuller] did exactly what captains are supposed to do for us,” Sunderland said. “Mary was really strong at the net and didn’t let anything get by her, while Tye made sure balls got down for points.”
Despite the nine-point win in set one, Glenwood had to fight for every point thanks to a strong defensive effort by the Demons led by junior Dulce Toscano and senior Carley Rice. Behind the strong defensive play in set one, Rifle looked to jump out to an early lead in set two, doing just that as they raced out to a 3-0 lead.
Wedhorn and Rifle junior Caitlin Morgan then traded aces as the Bears extended their lead to 5-2. A combo block at the net by Fuller and Warren made it 5-4 Rifle before a kill by Rifle junior Alexis Dormio made it 6-4 Bears.
After Dormio’s kill, things went sideways for the Bears as the Demons responded with a 6-1 run to take a 10-7 lead thanks to a kill from junior Cheyanne Mclelland and a block and kill by Fuller at the net.
But not to go away without a fight, the Bears responded and closed the deficit to 11-10 before two kills from Wedhorn and a kill from Rifle sophomore Kyla Gray made it 15-13 Glenwood midway through the set. Gray’s kill was one of the hardest hit balls all night and seemed to energize the Bears, but Glenwood wouldn’t wilt until the mounting pressure.
The Demons went on a 4-0 run to make it 19-13 before a kill by Fuller and a serving ace from Johnson to cap off the 25-17 win.
Looking to finish off the sweep of the Bears, Glenwood came out determined and raced out to an 11-3 lead in set three behind two kills and an ace from Wedhorn, one ace from junior Kassidi Johnson and another combo block from Warren and Fuller.
It was all Glenwood from there as the Bears never quite played up to the level they did in the first two sets, dropping the final set by a score of 25-16.
“This was a good confidence builder for the girls,” Sunderland said. “We started a new rotation tonight to get more dynamic offensively and I really felt that we were [more dynamic]. The girls really worked hard for every point and every set-win.”
In the three-set win, Johnson led the way with seven aces, four kills and 33 assists for Glenwood. Wedhorn added 12 kills, 12 digs, three aces and one block, while Fuller had four kills, three solo blocks and three assist blocks.
Warren chipped in with seven kills.
No individual stats were reported for Rifle.
With the win, Glenwood moves to 6-2 (1-1 4A WSL) on the season, while Rifle drops to 1-9 (0-5 4A WSL). The Demons will travel to Steamboat Saturday for a showdown with the Sailors, while the Bears will have off until next Tuesday with a match against Olathe at home.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.