Glenwood volleyball rolls to home win in first game under Rust
The Glenwood Springs Demons’ volleyball team rolled to a 3-1 win over the visiting Grand Junction Tigers Tuesday night inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School to pick up the first win at Glenwood for new head coach Kehau Rust, a 2010 GSHS graduate.
Behind some thunderous kills by seniors Tye Wedhorn and Mary Fuller, as well as strong defensive performances by seniors Maddie Bolitho and Kassidi Johnson, the Demons shook off a second-set collapse to bust the match wide open for the 3-1 win.
“I was just so pumped up,” Rust said. “I’m really excited for the rest of the season after watching the girls play tonight. We only had five practices before tonight, so to watch these girls come together like they did and figure it out was super exciting. It was nice to watch and kind of see where we can build from now into the season.”
In the first set to start the 2017 season, Glenwood fell behind Grand Junction early as senior Breck Smith came up with a big block at the net on Fuller, but the Demons responded quickly as Wedhorn and Johnson picked up kills, while Fuller answered with a block of her own to pull Glenwood to with 7-6 early in the set.
Following a long volley from the Tigers to tie the first set at 9-all, Glenwood took over as Wedhorn and senior Maya Erickson recorded kills before Fuller capped off a 7-4 run to give the Demons a 16-13 lead midway through the set. An ace by Bolitho a short time later made it 18-14 before the Tigers battled back to make it 19-17, forcing a Glenwood timeout.
Coming out of the quick stoppage, Glenwood responded with a 6-3 run to win the first set as Wedhorn came through with three kills, leading to Erickson’s set-winning kill as the Demons won it, 25-20.
Switching sides for the second set, Grand Junction stormed out to another early lead before Glenwood battled back to take an 8-7 lead on an ace by Fuller, forcing a quick Tiger timeout.
After the break, Glenwood extended its lead to 13-10 before Grand Junction got hot, battling back to tie it at 15-all. Blocks by Fuller and Wedhorn stretched Glenwood’s lead to 19-16, but the Tigers turned it on after that, storming back to take a 20-19 lead on a kill by senior Katie Carozza, forcing a Demon timeout.
The quick break didn’t help Glenwood as the Tigers stretched the lead to 24-21, but a net violation on the Tigers and an ace by Glenwood junior Ashley Emery made it 24-23 late in the set. With drama building inside the gym, the Tigers quickly took care of business to win the second set, 25-23, on a kill by senior Lexi Wright.
Looking to bounce back in set three, Glenwood stormed out of the gate to take an 11-2 lead behind kills by Emery and Wedhorn, along with a block from Johnson, forcing Grand Junction to call timeout to regroup.
The timeout didn’t work though as Glenwood kept its foot on the gas, taking an 18-7 lead highlighted by an ace from Wedhorn and a kill from Fuller. The Tigers found their footing though, battling back to pull to within seven at 19-12, but the Demons would the set away on the strength of Wedhorn at the net before Erickson capped off the set win with another game-point kill, giving the Demons a 25-16 set win to take a 2-1 set lead.
Hoping to ride the momentum from set three into set four, the Demons stayed hot at Emery started the fourth set off with a huge block at the net to give Glenwood the 1-0 lead. Following Emery’s big block, the Demons then raced out to a 13-3 lead as Wedhorn picked up a handful of kills to lead the Glenwood offense. Fuller and Wedhorn then traded kills to make it 16-4 Glenwood before Grand Junction would battle back to make it 19-10 late in the set.
A kill from senior Saylor Warren, an ace from Johnson and a combo block by Erickson and Emery at the net made it 24-11 Demons. Moments later, Wedhorn — who was terrific all night long — sealed the set and match for the Demons with another booming spike, sending the home crowd into a frenzy as the home team wrapped up a big win on home court.
“Tye and Mary were scoring points and Saylor was scoring points,” Rust said. “But I put a lot of our offense’s stress on our libero’s and setters to tell our hitters where to place the ball, because our hitters are watching the ball, not the defense, so it’s up to Maddie and Kassidi to tell our hitters where to go with the ball. Our offense was fun to watch tonight. Tye and Mary will get credit for the kills and Kass will get credit for the assist, but Maddie had a huge contribution tonight for our offense.
In the win, Wedhorn led the way with 16 kills and two aces, while Fuller came through with seven kills and two blocks.
Johnson added a team-high 29 assists and three aces, while Emery chipped in with four kills, three blocks and four aces.
“I told Tye before the game that her role for this team was to put balls away for us,” Rust said. “I thought her performance was awesome. She came out and was up to the task for us. I don’t know a whole lot about her from the past two years, but she was just awesome tonight.”
With the win, Glenwood sits at 1-0 on the season. The Demons will welcome seven teams to the valley starting Thursday evening for the Demon Invitational, featuring the likes of Roaring Fork, Grand Valley, Rifle, Pagosa Springs, Montezuma Cortez, Denver Christian and Steamboat Springs.
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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.