Roaring Fork can’t stop Skiers’ Suiter |

Roaring Fork can’t stop Skiers’ Suiter

G. Sean Kelly

CARBONDALE – In Friday’s high school volleyball match between Roaring Fork and Aspen, the teams traded a dozen sideouts before the match’s third point was scored.

It was a precursor of things to come.

The Roaring Fork Rams (5-2 in league, 7-4 overall), who entered the contest tied for second place in the 3A Western Slope League, had all the answers for league-leading Aspen (5-0, 9-6). All the answers that is except for how to stop standout hitter Lizzie Suiter.

Suiter, who entered the match ranked ninth in class 3A in the state with 106 kills, added another 16 to her total Friday night while leading the Skiers to a 2-1 (11-15, 15-13, 15-10) hard-fought victory over the Rams.

“It was a great match and we played well,” first-year Roaring Fork coach Karen Crownhart said.

“(Suiter) is good. She’s tough,” she added. “I don’t know why they don’t use her every time.”

While Aspen didn’t use Suiter every point, she did see her fair share of balls at the net. And she certainly acted as a safety net for the Skiers.

Anytime Aspen was in trouble the senior seemed to bail out the Skiers and put Roaring Fork on the ropes.

Rams’ senior Alyson Romanus paced Roaring Fork to a win in the first game with five of her team-high eight kills coming in the stanza.

The Rams looked poised to sweep their upvalley rival, taking an 11-6 advantage in the second game, but the Skiers had plenty of rally left in them.

Aces by Aspen’s Lindsey Patterson and Jenna Collin, along with some long hits by Roaring Fork, cut the lead to 11-10.

The Rams moved up to 12-10 with a nice dig off a Suiter hit by Jessie Rochel that went immediately over to the Aspen side and found open court, but Suiter wouldn’t be denied.

Suiter had two straight Aspen sideout kills to keep the margin at two, followed by a kill for a 12-11 score. After a Ram sideout, another Suiter sideout kill gave her the serve and the Skiers took a 14-12 lead with Suiter serving.

The Rams managed to pull back to 14-13 before Aspen’s Dana Fleisher notched two of her eight kills with the sideout and game points.

The deciding game was a carbon copy, only Roaring Fork took a bigger, and earlier, lead at 8-2.

It wasn’t enough.

Suiter and Patterson each had two kills in a seven-point run that gave Aspen a 9-8 edge.

A kill by Rams’ Samantha Burns for a sideout and an unreturnable serve by Brie Bath knotted the score at 9-all, but Suiter took over again.

The Skier hitter was responsible for Aspen’s next five sideouts and points with four kills and a stuff block. Aspen gained a two-point cushion at 11-9 before a Tarn Udall ace cut the margin to 11-10. Unfortunately for the Rams it was the last point Roaring Fork scored in the match.

“They get scared,” Crownhart said of her team’s failure to close out an opponent, a problem that has persisted throughout the season. “They’re so worried about winning that they’re not worried about just playing the game.”

But Crownhart believes, if they see Aspen in the District tournament, she can solve the Suiter problem – of course she’s not saying how just yet.

“We can stop her in the next game,” she said smiling. “I know how.”

Along with Romanus, Brie Bath had a solid showing for Roaring Fork with five kills, while fellow seniors Rochel and Udall each posted four kills on Senior Night at RFHS.

“I hope they’re happy with the way they played,” Crownhart said. “Every game we improved so much, so we’re on the right track.”

Roaring Fork faces Basalt Tuesday on the road before wrapping up the season Saturday at Eagle Valley.

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