Roaring Fork spikers down Gunnison in three
CARBONDALE – Roaring Fork volleyball fans are getting used to sitting on the edge of their seats a little more than last season.But the Rams (4-2) are finding ways to win when crunch time rolls around, as witnessed in a decisive 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-17) win in their 3A Western Slope League opener against Gunnison Saturday.”We’re not as fluid as last year’s team,” Roaring Fork coach Karen Crownhart noted after a match that saw her team leave the door dangerously open before finally putting away the visiting Cowboys.”I really expected this to be a pretty tough match,” she said. “I’m just so happy to get out of here in three games.”The Rams certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves.After scrambling to win the first two games, the Rams built what looked to be a commanding game-three lead at 11-1. But a few missed serves, missed sets, missed hits and general miscommunications later, and the Cowboys were back within four points.”We seem to have a hard time when we get up in a game, and then we don’t play with the same intensity as when we’re in a tight contest,” Crownhart said.The Cowboys stayed within striking distance until a convincing kill down the left line by junior Erika Pelland made it 21-16. The Rams then capitalized on a series of Gunnison miscues to take the match.Gunnison clung to a slim lead until midway through both games one and two, before Roaring Fork put together the kind of winning combinations that led to the regular season league and district tournament titles last year.A nip-and-tuck first game saw six lead changes before the Rams went up 21-20 on a dink by Ashley Jammaron. A couple of rallies later and the Rams found themselves at game point. Sarah Armstrong set up Kali Chestnut for the kill to end it. The dual setting-and-hitting combination of seniors Jammaron and Armstrong, along with strong hitting from Chestnut and Pelland, also seems to be throwing opponents off.”It works, because it tricks the other team and they don’t know who’s going to be setting,” Jammaron said. “It’s also good that more than one person is able to set, and shows that we each have more than one skill.”The Cowboys again held onto an early game-two lead, taking it to 14-11 before Pelland served the Rams back to 14-all.Serving specialist Isabella Volgger forced the Cowboys into a couple of back row miscues, and before long the Rams looked to be in control at 20-15.Armstrong played a perfect shot to the left corner off a missed set to make it 21-16, and another strong hit by Chestnut put Roaring Fork up 23-16.The Rams had game point at 24-17, but Gunnison rallied for four straight points before a serving error by Jenna Browder ended it.Roaring Fork continues its league schedule next weekend, hosting Olathe on Friday, and traveling the 12 miles up Highway 82 to Basalt for a Saturday afternoon match.
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They came. They skated. They conquered.