Titan spikers earn first trip to regionals
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Maybe Chloe Nelson and her Coal Ridge volleyball teammates enjoyed the movie Transformers a little too much.
That would explain her team’s slow start in a Friday win over Roaring Fork that ensured the Titans their first trip to regionals in school history.
“We were watching Transformers before,” Nelson admitted. “We just needed to get in volleyball mode again.”
It took four intense games, but Coal Ridge (19-3) got it together and knocked off the Rams in the Class 3A District 6 match, the second of the day for the Titans and the one that clinched them a top-two finish in the tourney.
With three matches in the round-robin tourney following the Roaring Fork-Coal Ridge showdown, the Titans wanted no part of leaving their fate in limbo with a loss.
“Not at all,” said Coal Ridge coach Denise Greene, whose team won by game counts of 21-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-16. “We had to play tough to beat them. They were not a team I wanted to see at regionals.”
Nelson paced the Titans with 18 kills, while Jessica Needham smashed eight and setter Sierra Grove finished with 30 assists in a match colored by long volleys and big point swings.
It was a nail-biting win in the second game that swung the momentum in Coal Ridge’s favor.
Up 22-17, the Titans appeared in control, but Roaring Fork surged back to tie the game at 24 behind four kills from sophomore Landon Garvik.
That’s when Britney Smith and Nelson combined on perhaps the biggest point of the match. The two jumped to block a shot from a Ram attacker. The ball hung in the air and Nelson slammed down a kill that put Titans up.
An errant Roaring Fork kill try later and the Titans had squared the game count.
“I think that second game we started to really get it done,” Needham said.
The Titans went on to win the next two games, though not without a test.
“Roaring Fork is a tough team,” Nelson said. “They get better every time we play them.”
Garvik led the Rams with 14 kills in the match. She was tailed by Maria Flores with eight and Alli Zeigel and Joey Clingan with six. Clingan also had 27 assists.
Roaring Fork went on to beat Salida in its final game to come away from the district tournament with a 1-2 record. The Rams finished the year 11-11 overall and, with five sophomores on the varsity roster who saw big minutes, believe they have the path paved for a bright future.
“This year we had some high goals,” Roaring Fork coach Carrie Shultz said. “Not all of them were accomplished but our young players got a lot of experience. We have a good foundation.”
With their regional fates already settled, Coal Ridge lost to Classical Academy in the day’s final match. With the district title to its name, Classical Academy is eligible to host regionals.
The Colorado High School Activities Association will seed and release the region brackets on Sunday.
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