Roaring Fork spikers use strategy to outduel Cedaredge
CARBONDALE, Colorado – If you ask her players, Roaring Fork volleyball coach Carrie Shultz knows just the right times to call a timeout.Against Cedaredge on Saturday, the first-year Rams coach picked perfect moments to pause play, gather her players and set them back on track.”She just knows what we’re capable of,” senior Maria Flores said.”Sometimes we just need a reminder,” added sophomore Niki Burns, expanding on Flores’ point.Shultz got her points across during a number of play stoppages on Saturday, keeping her troops sufficiently rallied in the Rams’ 25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20 win over visiting Cedaredge.Shultz’s team made a habit of responding to her words of wisdom with points – the kind reflected on the scoreboard. Most notable were a pair of timeouts in the first game.The Rams’ focus faltered briefly as the Bruins rattled off four straight points to knot the opener at 19. So Shultz made a T with her hands and recentered her team’s focus. Roaring Fork responded with two straight points before falling behind 23-21 courtesy of another Cedaredge surge. Out again came the T, and again Shultz’s Rams responded, this time finishing off the game with four straight points.”She definitely knows timeouts swing the momentum,” sophomore Landon Garvik said. “She makes you want to impress her. I don’t know what it is.”That opener set the tone for the rest of the afternoon in Carbondale, where the Rams rebounded from a disappointing defeat at Gunnison (25-16, 25-16, 25-22) on Friday.Garvik and Burns each finished with a team-best eight kills, including an emphatic, match-ending blast by Garvik in the fourth game. Joey Clingan, another of Roaring Fork’s five sophomores, added six kills and 12 assists, and Flores had three kills.Shultz’s Rams, now 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the 3A Western Slope League, struggled somewhat at the outset before gaining momentum as the match wore on.”I think it was maybe a little road fatigue,” joked Shultz, noting the side effect of her team’s almost 300-mile road trip to Gunnison the night before. “We had a slow start. … Our defense is getting much better. We focused on making more plays.”Long volleys, kept alive by an active Ram back line, served as evidence.Seniorless Cedaredge dropped to 0-6 overall and to 0-5 in the 3A WSL with the loss. The Bruins were also scheduled to play at Basalt later Saturday.”I think Roaring Fork definitely has the skill to go far and be a very strong team in our league,” Bruins coach Amanda Perdue said. “For our girls, we got past some mental obstacles today. Even though we didn’t win, I was very pleased.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.