Double-trouble Titans: Coal Ridge makes 2nd state volleyball tourney
Grand Valley falls at 3A Region 3 Tournament
BAYFIELD — Grand Valley High School’s volleyball team ended its season on Saturday after finishing 1-1 at the class 3A Region 3 Tournament at Bayfield High School on Saturday.
The Cardinals began the day with a 25-17, 25-11, 25-15 victory against Estes Park, but they lost in their second match of the day, 25-27, 25-14, 25-10, 25-15 to Bayfield, the third-seeded team in the 36-team Class 3A state tournament.
Bayfield (22-3) swept Estes Park, 25-10, 25-10, 25-15, to win the tournament and advance to the 3A State Championships in Denver. The Cardinals, who managed a third-place finish in the 3A Western Slope League this season, finished with a record of 14-11.
PEACH VALLEY — Eagle Ridge Academy’s volleyball team nearly climbed out of a seemingly insurmountable hole against Coal Ridge on Saturday. Kaitlyn Detlefsen and Britni Allen made sure the Warriors never finished their ascent.
The Coal Ridge High middle hitters combined for 34 kills — with Detlefsen contributing 20 kills and five blocks — and the Titans held off a gallant comeback attempt from Eagle Ridge to advance to the Class 3A State Championships with a 25-9, 26-28, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12 victory at the Coal Ridge High gym.
“I have a ton of confidence in her,” the senior middle hitter Allen said of Detlefsen, who has proven to be a more-than effective hitter as a junior. “I never doubt her when she comes in, and it’s good that we have that trust in each other when we switch off the way we do.”
“We have a nice competition going,” the 5-foot-11 Detlefsen said of the 6-foot Allen. “Whenever she [Allen] gets a kill, I have to go get a kill. We kind of push each other like that.”
The pair combined to push the Titans’ overall winning streak to 11, as they haven’t lost since Sept. 23 against Class 2A power Paonia. And Coal Ridge will take that streak into this week’s Class 3A State Championships, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the Denver Coliseum.
“I feel better about our trip there this time because, now, we’ve been there before,” said Coal Ridge coach Scott Black, whose team will be making its second consecutive appearance at the final site of the state tournament. “We know about the high ceilings, we know about the distractions and we know about the atmosphere, plus we’re a better team. So, yeah. I feel better about it this year.”
Before gutting out its win against Eagle Ridge — which finished the season with a 19-3 record — the Titans earned a 25-10, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of St. Mary’s Academy (12-13) in the Titans’ first match of the day. Eagle Ridge then beat St. Mary’s, 25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 25-22, to set up what amounted to a winner-take-all match for the tournament’s lone berth to state.
Against Eagle Ridge, Allen finished with 14 kills, Nicole Mooney added six kills and Bailey Davis chipped in six kills and a team-high 11 digs for the Titans, who were playing shorthanded. Coal Ridge was without defensive specialist and Libero Leah Kanakaraj, who was attending her brother’s wedding, and for a time setter Maggie Bell, who had to leave in the fourth set when one of her fingernails almost ripped off.
That helped open the door for an upset by the Warriors, who got a standout performance from 6-foot-11 middle hitter Sidney Benson (12 kills, 12 stuff-blocks).
It seemed like Coal Ridge would run away with the match at first, scoring 12 of the opening set’s first 13 points on its way to an easy first-set win. Eagle Ridge recovered, though, leading for much of the second set and rallying from a 25-24 deficit with four of the final five points to tie the match at 1-all.
Detlefsen and Allen were big in a set-ending run for the Titans in the next set, combining to score four of Coal Ridge’s seven points during a set-ending 7-1 run. Eagle Ridge came back and tied it again with a big rally of their own, however, as Benson’s kill sealed the set and the Warriors second 8-0 run of the set after they’d fallen behind the Titans by as much as 9-0.
Coal Ridge, however, got kills from Detlefsen, Allen, Bell and Dana Kotz along with aces from Madison Lund and Kellie Larson to take a 13-9 lead in the fifth and final set. Both teams traded points, and Benson slammed down a kill and stuff block to pull the Warriors within two before the match ended on an Eagle Ridge hitting error.
And with that, the Titans swarmed each other to celebrate one of the preseason goals they’d accomplished.
‘If you couldn’t tell from the smile on my face, I’m pretty excited right now. We all are,” Allen said.
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