Roaring Fork athletics has high hopes for fall sports | PostIndependent.com

Roaring Fork athletics has high hopes for fall sports

Much like some of the other schools in Garfield County, Roaring Fork athletics was hit hard by graduation this spring as a number of key athletes departed for the college ranks, leaving coaches to deal with younger classes.

However, the Rams should be pretty strong on the pitch and on the court this fall as boys soccer head coach Nick Forbes and girls volleyball head coach Donna Batcher have some good young talent waiting in the wings, and both teams have high aspirations for their respective seasons.

On the pitch, Forbes sees a good young core return for the fall season, headlined by senior defenseman Edwin Candela and junior midfielder Ronald Clemente, while Batcher deals with the loss of 10 seniors to graduation. Fortunately for the second-year head coach, a deep talent pool on junior varsity moves up to the top level this fall and should be able to pick up right where the girls left off last season.

With quite a bit of young, experienced talent on both teams, Roaring Fork could see its boys soccer team push for a league title and a berth in the state playoffs, while girls volleyball could return to the state tournament for the first time under Batcher.

BOYS SOCCER

Head Coach: Nick Forbes, fifth year

Last Season: 10-6 (5-4 3A Western Slope League) lost to Colorado Academy 1-0 in first round of 3A state playoffs

Key Returners: Edwin Candela, Sr., D; Max Candela, Jr., D; Aidan Sloan, Jr., D; Ronald Clemente, Jr., MF

Players to Watch: Liam Liard, Jr., MF; Joe Salinas, Jr., MF; Marco Ramos, Sr., MF

Season Outlook: With a large number of returning players from last season, the Roaring Fork boys soccer team has its sites set on a return to the state playoffs, where it looks to get past the first round one year after dropping an opening-round game to Colorado Academy. Highlighted by the Candela brothers and Aidan Sloan on the back end, and guys like Ronald Clemente, Joe Salinas and Marco Ramos at midfield, the Rams should once again have a balanced attack under head coach Nick Forbes in his fifth year at the helm. Due to the talent on hand, the Rams should be able to challenge for a 3A Western Slope League title while undoubtedly earning a spot in the state playoffs, which they’ve done three times under the direction of Forbes.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Head Coach: Donna Bratcher, second year

Last Season: 11-11 (5-4 3A Western Slope League)

Key Returners: Lily Nichols, Sr., OH/S; Kendall Bernot, Jr., OH

Players to Watch: Emily Broadhurst, Jr., S; Gabby Santana, Jr., MH; Logan Erickson, Jr., L

Season Outlook: Despite losing 10 seniors to graduation following Donna Batcher’s first season at the helm, the Roaring Fork Rams have a number of talented junior varsity players making their way onto the varsity roster this fall, highlighted by middle hitter Gabby Santana and setter Emily Broadhurst. “All of these girls played together last year, so they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to adjusting,” Bratcher said. “There’s a good vibe going on with this group and a lot of positive energy around this team.” With the large number of departed seniors and such a young team coming up, Bratcher and the Rams might experience some growing pains early in the year, but by mid-season, Bratcher feels that this group of girls should be rolling right along, playing some strong volleyball.