Glenwood volleyball comes up short in battle against Steamboat | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood volleyball comes up short in battle against Steamboat

Mike Vidakovich
Post Independent correspondent

Coach Kehau Rust's Glenwood Demons, showing grit and determination all afternoon, dropped a narrow 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 decision to the first-place Steamboat Sailors in a key Saturday volleyball matinee at Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.

With neither team ever able to take command of any of the three games in the contest, it was the Sailors, and 6-foot outside hitter Anna Allsberry in particular, who found a way to come up with big points at every critical juncture of the match that ultimately spelled the difference in the outcome.

Breaking a 23-all tie at the end of the first game with a kill by Allsberry, the Sailors then closed things out in the opener and used their momentum to take a quick 2-0 lead in the second game. Glenwood would bounce back, as the home team countered with a kill at the net by senior Ashley Emery and a nice run at the service line by junior Shanik Zambrano to stake the Demons to an 8-5 advantage.

Senior Kayle Justice and sophomore Reese Goluba combined to stuff a Sailor spike at the net to give Glenwood an 11-7 cushion. Senior Ally Rosenmerkel, who finished the game with a team high 23 digs, kept the Demons on the straight and narrow with her backline defense as Glenwood established their biggest lead of the afternoon at 15-10.

Unfortunately for the Demons, things would go south from that point on in game #2.

Following a timeout from veteran Sailor Coach Wendy Hall, Steamboat went on a scoring run that flipped a 5-point deficit into a 20-16 lead. The Sailors had not only snatched the lead from the Demons, but the game's all-important momentum as well.

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"That was a huge change of pace for Steamboat," said Coach Rust following the game. "We have a couple of rotations that are a bit weaker than others, and Coach Hall set up her stronger rotations to face ours at those times."

With a two-game lead, Steamboat was now in control of the match, but Glenwood was nowhere near ready to throw in the towel.

With junior Kaitlyn Johnson, senior Sarah Wagner, and Emery patrolling things near the net, Glenwood fought to a 3-2 edge in what would be the final game of the day on a block by Emery. Senior Baylee Johnson, playing her first full game back for the Demons after a lengthy injury, scored a point at the net for Glenwood as the Demons refused to go away quietly.

Senior Logan Nieslanik came up with some critical digs on defense and Zambrano pounced on a spike that put Glenwood up 9-7 and got the boisterous Demon student section on its feet.

As was the case the entire afternoon though, the Demons never managed to seize control of the match and get over the hump.

From that point, the Sailors came roaring back to take a 16-12 lead as the net play of Allsberry and fellow senior Avery Harrington continually thwarted Glenwood comeback attempts. Sailor libero Katelyn Kline dug out Demon shots with regularity to give her team chance after chance at net points.

Along with Rosenmerkel's 23 digs, statistical leaders for Glenwood were Zambrano with 8 kills. Emery contributed 5 kills and 6 blocks, with Kaitlyn Johnson also chipping in with 5 kills.

Despite the loss, the Demons are still very much in the thick of things in the Western Slope League chase for state playoff spots. Coach Rust is counting on big things from her spirited group the rest of the way, especially a couple of her senior leaders.

"Ashley (Emery) and Baylee (Johnson) are our big hitters and captains. With Baylee out for so long, Ashley really stepped up as a leader. She played with a lot of fire today."

Glenwood (8-7, 4-4 WSL), faces another critical matchup next Tuesday, Oct. 9, when they will host the Eagle Valley Devils.

The game will be "Dig Pink Night" to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.