Rifle shows progress in loss
GRAND JUNCTION – When Geneva Farr took the job as Rifle High School’s volleyball coach, she emphasized “learning how to play the game,” as a key point to her new team.Although the Bears fell to 3-0 Grand Junction Central Tuesday night, Farr’s methods are starting to take hold.Instead of wilting after a 25-7, 25-12 loss Rifle found its game and played, arguably, its best volleyball of the year in game three. Middle hitter Montanah Matthies and teammate Kelly Mugford pulled Rifle to a 7-2 lead after hitting winners off of free balls at the net, combined with couple of well-timed service aces.Matthies’s block on Central’s Katelyn Randolph for Rifle’s seventh point forced Central coach P.J. Janssen into calling a timeout to regroup.The Warriors promptly came out of the break with a five-point run to pull back to a 7-all tie. In the past, such a run by an opponent would have been a problem for Rifle.But Farr’s coaching style has made a difference to the downtrodden Bears volleyball program, which sank to a 4-17 record last season.”Keep pounding the ball,” Farr said, as she encouraged her team in the huddle.The Bears didn’t need to hit the ball to take a one-point lead. Central’s unforced error on a serve into the net gave Rifle the advantage. But it was the last time the Bears had a lead. Still, down by as many as three points, Rifle fought back to tie the third game twice before Central scored the game’s final three points for a 25-18 win.After Tuesday’s loss, Rifle, 0-3 (0-1 Western Slope League), faces another strong opponent at Steamboat Springs Thursday before Saturday’s home league match with Moffat County. After Tuesday’s loss, Rifle, 0-3 (0-1 Western Slope League), faces another strong opponent at Steamboat Springs Thursday before Saturday’s home league match with Moffat County.
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Area prep basketball teams begin their 2019-20 campaigns with tournament action both home and away this weekend.