Heading into 2019 season, Glenwood volleyball searching for consistency
Head Coach: Kehau Rust, third year
Last Season: 11-12, 6-6 in 4A Western Slope League, missed playoffs
Key Returners: Emily Nilsson, Sr; Kaitlyn Johnson, Sr.; Shanik Zambrano, Sr.;
Players to Watch: Kenzie Winder, So.; Siri Henderson, Fr.; Reese Goluba, Jr.;
Heading into the 2018 season in year two under head coach Kehau Rust, expectations were high for the Glenwood Springs Demons’ girls volleyball program. The team grabbed a share of the league title in Rust’s first year, and reached the state tournament after a few down years.
That follow-up to an outstanding first year under Rust was a bit of a roller coaster ride as the Demons struggled to replace all-state talent Tye Wedhorn, while also dealing with injuries to key seniors Baylee Johnson and Ashley Emery at times throughout the year.
That led to an up-and-down offensive attack and a shorthanded defensive unit. All that combined for an 11-12 record and a .500 mark in league play, causing the Demons to miss the playoffs.
Those experiences gained last year has the 2019 team set up for major success this fall, though, Rust believes.
Back is a trio of standout seniors in Emily Nilsson, Kaitlyn Johnson and Shanik Zambrano, giving the Demons three terrific offensive playmakers to lean on. Add in a trio of young, talented underclassmen in junior Reese Goluba, sophomore Kenzie Winder and freshman Siri Henderson, and things are really looking up for Glenwood entering Rust’s third year.
“I’m thinking that a lot of this year is going to be a team chemistry year,” Rust said. “The girls have been playing together for three seasons and will have three years with the same coach and the same system, so that’s going to be huge for them.”
That experience and familiarity with Rust and her system should have the Demons competing for a league title in a tough 4A Western Slope League.
“League-wise, we’ll be above average,” Rust said. “I feel like the league itself has quite a few key players. All the top teams have kind of lost tall, hard-hitting athletes, so it’s going to be a battle each and every night.”
Knowing that the league will be more balanced and competitive this year has seen a major buy-in from the Glenwood girls this summer. That has Rust excited for the season to start.
“This summer has been the most I’ve seen these girls be part of this program,” Rust said. “It’s just great to see. We do morning weights and conditioning four nights a week, and all the girls have bought in.”
The team went to a Nike volleyball camp, the Colorado State camp, and participated in the VIBE Volleyball camp.
“The juniors and sophomores we have in this program are very dedicated to the sport,” Rust said. “They have more drive than I think I’ve seen in any of the previous classes.”
Rust and the rest of the Demons’ staff hopes that dedication and drive leads to a berth in the state playoffs this fall.
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It was a statement game featuring the two best boys basketball teams in the 4A Western Slope League on Saturday afternoon at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in Glenwood Springs. And, just like in the old western shootouts, it was the Glenwood Demons who had spoken the loudest when all the dust had settled with a key 58-44 win over the Steamboat Springs Sailors.