New coaches both inherit playoff teams
Glenwood Springs High School filled a pair of vacant head coaching positions recently with Scott Nykerk and Craig Plizga.Nykerk, an assistant for the past four seasons at Glenwood Springs, will take the reins of the volleyball team in the fall, while Plizga takes over the boys soccer team.Nykerk inherits a team that advanced to the state tournament the past two years under head coach Denise Greene, who accepted the same position at the new Coal Ridge High School near New Castle recently.”I think he’ll bring some new things in,” Glenwood athletic director Steve Cable said of Nykerk. “He’s got a lot of playing experience, and he’s been under some good coaches and learned a few things. I think we’ll continue with our strong volleyball tradition.”Nykerk also has an impressive crop of returning players, with just one player graduating off last year’s 19-10 squad.Heading the list of returning players is a trio of all-Western Slope League selections in setter Cheree Carver and middles Leah Hinkey and Leanna Lawson. Outside hitter Tobie Rippy is also back after garnering league honorable-mention kudos last season.”We’ll keep it going with a big, strong returning core of seniors who have been on course for three years,” Nykerk said. “And we’ve got a pretty good group of you developing players.”Plizga, a teacher at Glenwood Springs Middle School, replaces Bob Guska and Dave Shepard and likes what he has heard about the team so far.”It sounds like they are already on that path. We just need to keep it going in that direction,” Plizga said.He said he plans to implement an aggressive style that should force opposing defenses to be on their toes.”Everyone will be in a position to attack,” said Plizga, who would like defensemen, as well as forwards, to contribute to the offense. “I believe in staggered runs, keeping a rotation going with decoy runs and a lot of motion. It’s almost like a motion offense in basketball.”The Demons soccer team finished last season with a mark of 12-3-1 and advanced to the playoffs. Pat Shepard is the only first-team all-league selection who will be back in the fall, but honorable mention players Dylan Weller, Giovanny Anaya and Zack Stepp are also eligible to return.
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Facing the loss of five crucial games down the stretch due to COVID-19 quarantine rules, the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team’s postseason fate looked uncertain and totally out of the team’s control.