Rifle volleyball team loses in three to Palisade
PALISADE – An opponent’s win-loss record is not important to Wendy MacAskill. “Our challenge is to play our game on our side of the court,” said the first-year Palisade High School volleyball coach. That point’s especially true when it comes to facing Western Slope League foe Rifle. “They play really hard. So it’s not a given it’s going to be a win,” MacAskill said of the 0-9 (3-14 overall) Bears after a 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-10) home match Saturday. Rifle displayed the ability to play with the Bulldogs. The Bears’ problem was consistency. Every time the Bears flashed their skills a slew of errors would pop up to prevent them from mounting a sustained scoring run. Palisade seized on its opponent’s weakness, then used them to build up large leads. Ahead 4-3 in game one the Bulldogs pounded down 10 of the next 15 points. Senior Bernadette Pitre and her teammate Kendra Collette, a junior, contributed the bulk of the run’s effort. Pitre had four of her match-high 12 kills in that spurt. Collette, who also finished in double figures with 10 kills, had two winners. MacAskill liked what she saw on the court. “I felt like we stayed aggressive,” the coach said. “That is something we haven’t done in earlier matches this year. That was encouraging.” Pushing the issue led to a 9-2 run to win the first game after Rifle coach Geneva Farr called time out. The pattern continued through the rest of the match. Rifle forced four ties in the following two games, but were unable to take a lead. Palisade zipped its way to a 10-2 lead on kills from Pitre, Collette and Angela Booher after the Bears forced a 2-2 tie early in the second game. A second Bulldog run raised Palisade’s advantage to 23-9 before junior Brittany Schmitt won the game by blocking a Rifle return at the net. In the third game Rifle tied the match on three separate occasions – the last at 3-all before Palisade took control with a 7-1 scoring burst. Up 16-9, the Bulldogs secured the match by outscoring Rifle 9-1. The Bears return home for a league match with rival Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Demons’ Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.