Let the spiking begin
Ending a losing season on a strong note can do wonders for a team once the next campaign rolls around.Denise Greene and the Coal Ridge Titans are hoping that holds true for them. And, considering this year marks the school’s first senior class, the volleyball Titans have absolutely no holes to fill.”We get everybody back,” said Greene, who’ll lean on seniors Callie Schlegel and Mini Kanakaraj and juniors Sierra Grove, Kelly Romero and Chloe Nelson to lead an experienced team.That experience showed in last season’s district tournament when Coal Ridge, despite posting just a pair of 3A Western Slope League wins in the regular season, took aim at some of the Western Slope League’s big guns. The Titans made interesting matches with Gunnison and Aspen.When you’re building a program from the bottom up, a competitive showing against a good team can go a long ways. Consequently, the goals are high in the Titan camp.
“The girls are really excited about the season,” Greene said. “They’ve been working hard and can’t wait to show everyone what they can do. We’re shooting big. Our goal is to at least challenge for the league title. We have lots of experience.”Much is on the line for the Coal Ridge upperclassmen, who want nothing more than to leave their mark on a program in its infancy.”They think that it is a pretty neat opportunity for them to set forth volleyball as a good sport to be in at Coal Ridge,” Greene said.
This year’s Roaring Fork volleyball squad will be led by one of the school’s own. Sarah Hyatt, a 1998 graduate and former Ram player, is taking charge of the program.Hyatt’s been active in the sport since graduation, playing on intramural and club teams at Peninsula College in Washington state. The school nurse at Coal Ridge High School has also coached under-18 soccer in New Castle the last few years.A fondness for her Roaring Fork days piqued her interest in the volleyball position.”It just kind of hit close to home,” she said. “I went to school there and had some really good sports experiences with coaching. That school has a lot of heart.”Hyatt’s inheriting a program that had just two 3A WSL wins last year, but has seen promise in early practices. “Everyone looks amazing,” she said of her team, which will be led by seniors Celeste Comings, Leslie French, Nikki Burns and Daisy Tena.She expects those seniors and juniors Maria Flores, Rianna Rollyson, Cheyenne Johnson and Brenda Bamford to mesh well with younger talent like freshman Landon Garvick.”They’ve all got very, very good attitudes at this point,” Hyatt said. “I think this is a good step in the right direction for them, definitely.”
Grand Valley grad Jenni Hirneisen is taking over the volleyball program at her alma mater, inheriting a team that picked up a single 2A WSL win last year. The former walk-on at Colorado State University brings Division I pedigree to a program that, of late, has been unstable at the head coach position. The Cardinals have had three coaches in the last six years.The 2006 Cards were led in part by Amanda Gunter, Sherry Mlakar, Lindsey Tonder and Lauren Schubert, all seniors this year.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.