Prep Roundup: Titans win regional, advance to state tourney
Following a frustrating close to the regular season for the Coal Ridge Titans volleyball team, a trip to Faith Christian High School was in store Friday for the regional tournament in the state playoffs.
Shaking off some rust and regaining their identity, the No. 18 Titans rolled to wins over No. 7 Faith Christian and No. 30 Denver Science & Tech Stapleton to advance to the state playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Against DSST to start the night, Coal Ridge rolls to a three-set win by scores of 25-15, 25-16 and 25-9, setting up a final match showdown with Faith Christian for the right to head to the state playoffs next weekend.
The Titans got off to a fast start against the Eagles, winning the first set by a score of 25-23. However, the Eagles would respond in the second set by defeating the Titans by a score of 15-25. That would set up an important third set, which the Titans would take 25-19 before running away with the final set, 25-18, clinching a berth in the state playoff tournament next weekend at the Pepsi Center.
“All 12 of our girls contributed and played hard,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Aimee Gerber said. “When we were down we fought back, and when we were winning we pushed harder. Our goal is five points at a time and it keeps the girls focused. Our seniors were determined and leading, but we had some young girls come up big for us too.”
In the match against the Raptors, senior Dana Kotz came up with 30 assists, 11 digs, six kills, three aces and two blocks, coming up big all over the court for the Titans. Fellow senior Nicole Mooney came through with 11 kills and added eight digs, while junior middle hitter Paige Harlow added eight kills and three blocks.
Junior libero Emily Wright played stellar defense, chipping in with 15 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Kara Morgan and junior outside hitter Cassie Greene chipped in with six kills each.
In the night match against the Eagles, Kotz again had a huge game, leading the way with 27 assists, 17 digs, six kills and two blocks. Mooney added 11 digs and nine kills, while senior Kaitlyn Harlow chipped in with eight kills, three aces and two blocks.
Morgan had a team-high 13 kills and added six digs, while Wright added 21 digs. Junior Santana Martinez came through with a big game as well, recording 13 digs for the Titans.
But the biggest move of the night was Gerber going with a 6-2 formation in the third and fourth sets, bringing in sophomore setter MacKenzie Crawford to pair with Kotz, providing the Titans with a dynamic offensive set, leading to wins in the final two sets.
Crawford finished with eight assists, eight digs and two kills.
“We talked about ability, motivation and attitude all week,” Gerber said. “They combined those qualities to succeed this weekend. A quote we really went off of is, ‘Ability is what you are capable of doing, motivation determines what you do, and attitude determines how well you do.’”
With the win, the Titans now await their fate in the state tournament at the Denver Coliseum as far as seedings go.
DEMONS SWEPT IN REGIONAL TOURNEY
Sneaking into the 4A state playoffs as a No. 29 seed, the Glenwood Springs Demons volleyball team drew a tough task having to face No. 8 Berthoud and No. 17 Mountain View on the road at Berthoud High School.
Unfortunately for the Demons, they were unable to win a set against both teams, getting swept out of the regional tournament, ending their season in difficult fashion.
Despite the tough outing in the regional tournament in Berthoud, the Demons had a strong season under first-year head coach Dennis Sunderland, who led the Demons to a 9-14 overall record in the regular season while finishing sixth in the 4A Western Slope League standings.
CARDINALS OUSTED FROM REGIONAL TOURNEY
On the road for a difficult 3A regional tournament at No. 5 Bayfield, the No. 32 Grand Valley Cardinals won just one set Saturday morning, with the lone win coming against No. 20 Buena Vista, ending the Cardinals’ terrific season prematurely.
Against Bayfield, the Cardinals were swept by the No. 5 Wolverines by scores of 11-25, 18-25 and 12-25, setting up a pivotal matchup against Buena Vista.
The No. 20 Demons dropped just one set against the Cardinals, wrapping up a 3-1 win to send the Cardinals home in disappointing fashion.
Despite the tough showing in the regional tournament, the Cardinals finished the regular season under Head Coach Dave Walck with a 14-9 record while finishing with a 6-3 league record, good for third place behind Delta and Coal Ridge.
CARDINALS CLIPPED BY INDIANS
Earning a berth in the 1A state playoffs for the first time since 2012, the Grand Valley Cardinals hit the road for a big-time matchup with No. 2 Strasburg in the first round, but that’s where the fairy tale season would end for the upstart Cardinals as the Indians rolled to a 54-0 win to advance to the second round.
Despite having just one of two quarterbacks with over 1,000 passing yards in the 1A Western Slope League, Jeff Holbrook and the Cardinal offense couldn’t get anything going against the Strasburg defense, which came into the game allowing just over 14 points per game on the season.
With the loss, Grand Valley finishes the season with a 5-5 record under second-year Head Coach Tim Lenard. Despite a tough close to the season the arrow is certainly pointing up for the resurgent Cardinal program.
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