Glenwood rises up to defeat Rifle rivals
RIFLE – So, there’s nothing special about a Glenwood-Rifle volleyball game anymore? Try telling that to the Demons or Chelsea Vallario.”They are still our big rival and we had a lot of fans out tonight. That helped us step it up a notch, which makes us play well,” she said.How well did the Demons play?
Well enough to polish off a vastly improved Bear unit in three straight games. Vallario, taking over as one of Glenwood’s starting outside hitters, had a game-high nine kills in the 25-12, 25-17, 25-16 match. In between, the junior managed to squeeze in three serving aces and a couple of blocks.The offensive power Vallario furnished came at the right time for the Demons.”In our first five matches, we didn’t have the outside hitter – the (person) who could terminate a point. We found that tonight with Chelsea,” said head coach Scott Nykerk.
Still, Vallario’s power didn’t come right away. Like the match, it just kind of developed.Rifle, looking for its first match win of the year, put a lot of energy into the back-and-forth, nip-and-tuck first game. In the opening game, the Bears led three times before falling behind for good on three straight Glenwood winners after a 13-all deadlock.”It could have gone any way,” said Rifle coach Geneva Farr of game one. “I think less mistakes in ball handling caused that game to go to Glenwood. They were very consistent and they were calm and smooth.”Smooth enough to carry the good vibrations the Demons created for themselves during the opener through the rest of the match.
Getting contributions from all of its starters, Glenwood took a nine-point lead twice in winning game two and held a 13-point advantage before wrapping up the match by nine the following game.”They just came together,” Nykerk said of the team’s play. “All week, we’ve been working on stepping up to the next level, and it all came together during that second game.” Farr said the large, early deficits in games two and three were due to a lack at reading an opponent’s defense.”These girls are working out how to read a defense. The more games we get into the season, the more they are going to get it,” the coach said. “What lost our games tonight was just how to read a defense. Glenwood has a smart ballclub. For the most part, I’m pretty proud of (the Bears players).”
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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.