Glenwood volleyball takes WSL title with three set win over Palisade
Special to the Post Independent
The Glenwood Springs girls captured the 4A Western Slope League volleyball championship with a dominant 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 victory over the Palisade Bulldogs on Thursday night at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
Playing the final regular season home game of their careers, seniors Shanik Zambrano, Kaitlyn Johnson, Emily Nilsson, Jenna Golden and Chance Balis got a winning send-off into the postseason before a large and enthusiastic Demon home crowd.
Glenwood, though, did not start the night’s action as well as they would finish it, as the Demons allowed the visitors from Palisade to jump out to a quick and commanding 11-3 lead, prompting Glenwood head coach Kehau Rust to call a timeout to settle her team down and try to get them to refocus.
“The girls started the game tonight a little too excited,” explained Rust. “During the timeout we told them to do their jobs individually and things would come together for us.”
Come together the Demons did, as following the stoppage in play, Glenwood’s Kaitlyn Johnson stepped to the service line and reeled off eight consecutive points to pull her team into a tie at 11-all, forcing Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill to use a timeout of her own.
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Johnson’s timely service run signaled a big momentum swing that would help to carry Glenwood throughout the rest of the evening.
With newfound confidence, Glenwood continued its offensive onslaught as senior Emily Nilsson scored on a push shot to a wide open area in the Palisade defense, and sophomore Kenzie Winder notched a kill to even the score at 13-13.
The Demons then seized control of the opening game when Zambrano reeled off seven service points to put Glenwood up 21-14. Nilsson got another point for the Demons with a quick, flick of the wrist shot that caught the Bulldogs napping and helped send the home team to a game number one win.
With junior libero Reese Goluba keeping Palisade shots from hitting the floor with her defense, and setting up her net girls with accurate feeds, Glenwood continued to put the pressure on Palisade in game two.
Goluba added to her defensive prowess with a mini-run at the service line to put Glenwood up 11-7. Junior Kiah Larson then recorded a kill that found the back corner of the inbounds marker as the Demons widened their lead to 16-11. From that point, Glenwood cruised to the 25-18 game win, as the WSL regular season title was now within their grasp.
The final game of the night saw Glenwood jump out to a quick 5-0 lead, but the Bulldogs battled back with sophomore Ella Yanowich serving Palisade to a 10-9 lead. Johnson countered Palisade’s momentum with a spike from the center of the court, and Larson added a kill to put Glenwood up 13-11. Demon sophomore Charlotte Olszewski got into the scoring act with a kill, and moments later Goluba sewed things up for Glenwood by serving out the match, setting off a jubilant celebration on the Demon home court.
Johnson recorded 14 kills to lead the Demons. Larson and Zambrano chipped in with five kills each. Zambrano also smacked eight aces to pace Glenwood.
The Demons (15-4, 11-1 WSL) will close out their regular season portion of the schedule next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, at the Coal Ridge Tournament.
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