Glenwood volleyball playoff run ends at home in regionals
Post Independent correspondent
Despite winning the opening game of the afternoon’s deciding volleyball match against the D’Evelyn Jaguars, the Glenwood Springs Demons couldn’t overcome a mid-match momentum swing. The Demons dropped a tense 4A regional final by scores of 24-26, 26-24, 25-16, and 25-20 on Saturday afternoon at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
By defeating the George Washington Patriots from the Denver Prep League in the day’s first match of the regional playoffs, the Demons set up a winner-take-all showdown with D’Evelyn for a spot in next week’s state 4A volleyball tournament at the Denver Coliseum.
The Demons were actually agents of fortune in being able to pull out the first game of the match against the Jaguars, who came in as the #20 seed and champions of Denver’s Jefferson County League. Glenwood fell behind quickly by a count of 18-9 at the onset of the deciding match of the day, forcing Demon head coach Kehau Rust to call a timeout.
With junior Kiah Larson serving the Demons back to a manageable 18-14 deficit following Rust’s timeout, Glenwood began to regain some much-needed focus and momentum.
A thunderous kill by Jaguar outside hitter Sophia Hoffman ended Glenwood’s scoring run, but senior Kaitlyn Johnson recorded a hard spike of her own, and fellow senior Emily Nilsson scored on one of her tricky flip shots as the Demons had new life and a 20-19 lead.
Senior Shanik Zambrano dropped a chip shot over the net to help lift Glenwood to the improbable game win at 26-24, giving the Demons the early edge and the inside track on a trip over the mountains to Denver.
The Demons weren’t about to let go of the momentum they had fought so hard to establish as the beginning of game two saw sophomore Kenzie Winder smack a kill at the Jaguars and fellow sophomore Charlotte Olszewski record a block at the net to put Glenwood up 10-4.
Junior libero Reese Goluba then made a highlight reel save that led to another Glenwood point and a commanding 13-6 Demon lead. It was now Jaguar coach Amber Cook’s turn to take a timeout as her girls seemed to have little bite left in them.
With Glenwood’s lead at a seemingly safe 18-10 margin following a lefty hook shot by Larson and a smack of a kill by Nilsson, the Demons looked to be a sure bet to take a 2-game lead in the match.
Unfortunately for Glenwood, it was at this point in the match that the hard-hitting Hoffman began to heat up, changing the complexion of the game and the match.
“She (Hoffman) got on fire at that point, and we just couldn’t shut her down,” said Coach Rust following the match.
Junior Hannah Gwinner took control at the service line for D’Evelyn and Hoffman did likewise at the net as the Jaguars came all the way back from a big deficit to pull out game number two 26-24.
It was back to being anyone’s ballgame.
D’Evelyn took the newly found momentum and ran with it, taking commanding leads throughout game three of the match. Glenwood freshman Siri Henderson was inserted into the lineup and did a nice job at the service line to bring the Demons within 18-12 at one juncture, but many uncharacteristic defensive errors would doom any Glenwood comeback hopes.
Johnson had a kill and Zambrano deftly tipped the ball over the net for a point as the back-and-forth game number four hit its full stride. A Winder spike gave Glenwood a 16-15 lead as the Demons fought for their playoff lives. Nilsson scored on a push shot to help the home team as D’Evelyn had taken a 19-18 lead.
Trailing 24-20, the lights went out on Glenwood’s dream season when Hoffman punched a kill to send the Jaguars into a state tournament celebration.
“These kids have been great. There’s a banner up on the wall for being league champions and we got to host a regional; that hasn’t happened in a long while. This was a huge year for us,” Rust said.
The Demons finish the season at 19-5 and wave goodbye to seniors Johnson, Zambrano, Nilsson, Jenna Golden and Chance Balis.
Coal Ridge bows out in 3A regionals
The Coal Ridge volleyball team, playing in the Class 3A Region 8 tournament Friday night at SkyView Academy, suffered two match losses to end its season at 17-8.
The 17th-seeded Titans lost to the No. 8 host SkyView Hawks in Highlands Ranch 3 sets to 0, and to No. 29 Colorado Academy, 3-1.
SkyView went on to win the regional round and advance to the 3A state tournament next weekend. The Hawks also defeated Colorado Academy 3-0
The regionals marked the last volleyball games in a Titans uniform for seniors Taylor Roberts and Lyanna Nevarez.
— John Stroud, Post Independent
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.