Panthers overpower Demons in four sets
Slow starts and big holes are starting to become the normal for Glenwood Springs girls volleyball this season.
Despite the slow starts, the Demons usually rally to pull off the win, but Thursday against the Delta Panthers at Spencer-Chavez Gymnasium the Demons simply couldn’t dig themselves out of that big hole, losing in four sets, 24-26, 14-25, 31-29, 19-25.
The week was mostly positive for the Demons building up to the match against the Panthers, but old habits popped up once again.
“You know, we worked on a lot of passing this week,” Demons head coach Sarah Ryan said. “But the same thing always happens where they dig themselves an early hole and then they had to try and get out of it. They have to learn that you can’t make that many mistakes in a row.”
In a back-and-forth first set after trailing early, the Demons held a 20-16 lead after a nice volley by Harlee Gonzales landed just in front of a group of Delta players. However, the Panthers — led by junior outside hitter Ashton Reese — quickly narrowed the gap as Reese took to the air forcefully, tying the game 22-22 with a bunch of booming spikes.
After a Delta timeout with the Demons leading 24-23, the Panthers ran off three quick points to take the first set.
In the second set Reese once again proved to be too much to handle for Glenwood defensively.
“She was just everywhere,” Ryan said. “She was on fire and she’s smart. She saw the court well tonight.”
Pulling within 14-12 midway through the set, the Demons looked to be in position to strike, but Reese and Emily Baier controlled the court for the Panthers, forcing the Demons into too many errors defensively, which caused them to struggle with their offense.
Multiple Demon volleys went long, giving the Panthers easy points as they rolled to a 25-14 second set win.
The third set of the night proved to be the best as neither team wanted to go down without a fight.
Led by senior Blake Fergen and sophomore Tye Wedhorn, the Demons controlled the game at the net by coming up with huge blocks and timely kills in a thrilling 31-29 win.
The play of the set was a block attempt by Fergen and Wedhorn that skimmed off of their hands and dropped to the floor. Live, it appeared to hit the floor, but a mad scramble by a host of Demons somehow kept the ball alive.
Fergen then capped off the point with a thunderous kill, assisted by Chally Korn’s big dig against Reese.
“Blake had awesome, awesome hustle tonight,” Ryan said. “She read the court well and was trying to find open spots to rival No. 23 [Reese]. She did really well.”
Wedhorn, Gonzales and Korn also came up with big plays at the net in the set, providing the Demons with much needed offense down 2-0.
Trying to build momentum off of the big third set win, the Demons stumbled out of the gate once again in set four.
Trailing 7-2, Glenwood Springs tried to get the net game going once again with Fergen and Wedhorn, but one disastrous play wiped that out.
Near the net, Wedhorn leaped high for a block attempt and came down directly on Baier’s foot. The sophomore fell to the floor in pain and had to be helped off of the court without putting pressure on her right leg.
Sporting ice halfway up her leg, the talented net-front presence was a big loss for the Demons, as the Panthers took advantage and closed out the win with a 25-19 win.
After the game, Wedhorn was spotted leaving the school on crutches with a boot on her right foot.
“They think it might be fractured,” Ryan said. “She’s on her way to the hospital right now.”
The potential long-term loss of Wedhorn adds to the rough night the Demons had.
Sitting at 5-6 (2-3 WSL), the Demons look to rebound Tuesday, with a showdown against Battle Mountain at home.
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As the heat of the summer gives way to cooler mornings, summer trail race opportunities are slowly coming to an end.