Preps roundup: Titans hold off hard-charging Rams to stay unbeaten in soccer; Coal Ridge volleyball wins
The Coal Ridge boys soccer team staved off a second-half comeback by the Roaring Fork Rams in Carbondale Thursday, scoring off a penalty kick inside of 5 minutes to play to claim the 4-3 victory and stay undefeated on the season.
The Titans came out strong early, taking a 3-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of play with goals from juniors Tony Ayala and Eddie Salazar and senior Samuel Fulk.
Roaring Fork looked to shift the momentum back its way after finally getting on the board with 4 minutes left to play in the first half to make it 3-1.
The second half was all Rams until the closing minutes.
Goals from Roaring Fork senior Gustavo Amador in the 53rd minute and in the 68th by sophomore Emiliano Magana tied it up.
Roaring Fork kept the pressure on, but the break for the Titans came on a penalty call against the Rams on a Coal Ridge drive near the 18 with three minutes left.
Salazar lined it low past the Rams’ wall and into the back of the net to give the Titans their second 3A Western Slope League win of the season.
“I feel like this is our rivalry every year,” Titans head coach Michael Mikalakis said of the always tight games against Roaring Fork, which finished as the 3A state runner-up in the fall 2019 season.
“It’s always a challenging game with them, and they’re a good squad,” Mikalakis said.
He credited his team with keeping their composure against the fired-up Rams in the second half.
“We’re competitors … that’s what we do. we know what we want to see this year, and we’ve been working hard for it,” Mikalakis said. “They don’t let things get to them, and they’re ready to go and ready to compete every single day.”
Coal Ridge (4-0, 2-0 league) looks to keep the streak alive at 11 a.m. Saturday in a non-league game at home versus Grand Junction Central, before playing host to the Basalt Longhorns on Tuesday.
Roaring Fork (0-2 overall and in league) hosts Vail Mountain for a non-league game at 3 p.m. Saturday, and has a league matchup with Palisade at home on Tuesday.
— John Stroud
Volleyball: Coal Ridge 3, Steamboat Springs 2
After facing two other 4A opponents in Palisade and Glenwood Springs to open the season, the Coal Ridge volleyball team continued its nonconference march with a home contest on Thursday night against the Steamboat Springs Sailors.
The Titans pieced together their second consecutive win, battling back from a two-set deficit as they overcame a sluggish start to post a 14-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-11 victory.
The contest featured several lead changes and momentum swings.
Coal Ridge started the evening looking like it was indeed on spring break. With several self-inflicted gaffes to blame, the contest’s first set was frustratingly brief for the Titans as the Sailors rolled to an easy 25-14 decision.
The four sets that would ensue were a much better indication of how the night would go for both teams, neither of which could ever quite seize control of the momentum.
Coal Ridge’s talented senior frontline trio of Taylor Wiescamp, Brecken Guccini and Phoebe Young kept the Titans close throughout the match with timely blocks and high velocity kills that had Steamboat continually on the defensive and scrambling to dig the ball off the floor.
Dropping set number two in a close decision, the Titans regrouped behind veteran coach Aimee Gerber and set the tone early for a do-or-die comeback. Titan sophomore Emma Morgan scored on a soft flip shot over the net to put the home team up 5-2 early in set three.
Kills by Guccini and Young forced Steamboat coach Wendy Hall to take a timeout to try to stop the Coal Ridge run, but moments later it was Wiescamp who put the finishing touches on a 25-21 win to keep the Titans on life support.
Set number four started out promising for the Sailors, who jumped to a commanding 9-1 lead behind the serving of senior Jadyn Robson. But it would end in a momentum-robbing turn of events that eventually served as the ultimate undoing for Steamboat.
Titan senior Kallie Bumgardner and Guccini would serve the Titans to an 11-11 comeback tie following a timeout by Gerber, but the well-disciplined Sailors continued to inch ahead each time Coal Ridge would make a run.
The high-flying Young scored on a spike for the Titans, but Steamboat took a 20-17 advantage on a block at the net. What was to follow played a big part in changing the complexion of the match.
It appeared that the visiting Sailors had gained a lead of 23-18 on a Coal Ridge hit that went out of bounds. As Steamboat celebrated, though, it was ruled that a Sailor had tipped the ball, giving the point — and new life — to the Titans.
Coal Ridge took full advantage of the momentum swing, winning set number four 25-22 and sending the match to a deciding set five.
Now with a full head of steam, Coal Ridge took advantage of a Sailor team that bore little resemblance to the dominant group that had taken the court to start the match. Senior Erica Simmons did serve Steamboat to a quick 3-0 lead, but it was all Titans from that point on as they secured the big win.
“We talked a lot this week about being mentally tough,” said Titan coach Gerber. “We need to develop that grit to push through tough times and understand that when we are down, we’re not done. The kids are starting to develop that never give up mentality.”
Guccini finished with 34 digs, 12 kills and two aces on the night. Wiescamp had 19 kills, four blocks and two aces, and Young had 27 digs and 15 kills. Senior Ari Cornejo had 38 digs.
Next up for Coal Ridge (2-1) is another home date on Saturday when the Titans will host 3A Western Slope League foe Roaring Fork.
— Mike Vidakovich
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