Titans bow out of state volleyball tourney
Making its third straight appearance in the state volleyball tournament at the Denver Coliseum Friday and Saturday, the Coal Ridge Titans girls volleyball team was unable to pick up a win in its two matches against Eaton and Frontier Valley.
In the process of dropping both matches, Titans star senior Kaitlyn Detlefsen went down with an injury, which made it tough for the Titans to play to their strength against No. 24 Eaton.
Against the Reds, Coal Ridge kept the first game close, losing 25-18. The Titans actually led the Reds midway through the first set when Detlefsen went down with the injury.
According to head coach Aimee Gerber, during the time that was taken to deal with Detlefsen’s injury, the officials inexplicably gave the lead to Eaton.
Dealing with the injury to their star player and the fiasco with the score seemingly shocked the young Titans team, who ended up losing that set. In set two, the Reds stormed past the Titans, 25-5.
Trying to battle back, the Titans fought hard in the third and final set before ultimately falling to the Reds, 15-25, as Eaton finished off the sweep.
“The shell shock with our young team of losing their leader and everything going against us threw us into a tailspin the second set,” Gerber said. “The third set we finally rebounded and played them hard, but Kaitlyn’s presence on the court was truly missed. Nobody even gave us a chance against them [Eaton], and we gave them the toughest set of their entire tournament.”
Eaton came into the state tournament as the No. 24 ranked team in the nation. The Reds went on to win their third straight state championship.
In the three-set loss to the Reds, Dana Kotz finished with 16 assists, two kills, four blocks and six digs. Nicole Mooney chipped in with six kills and three blocks. Kaitlyn Harlow added five kills and three blocks, while Santana Martinez went 11-for-11 serving and had eight digs. Emily Wright added seven digs of her own.
With a night to regroup and move forward without Detlefsen in the lineup, the Titans came out flat against the Frontier Valley Wolverines, dropping the first set 12-25.
However, the Titans woke up in the second set and picked up their first set win of the tournament, 25-19, which seemed to build some momentum for a team learning to play without their leader.
Unfortunately, the Titans dropped the next two sets in close fashion, 19-25 and 24-26, ending their state tournament run early.
“We had a heart to heart [following the first set] and came out strong in the second game,” Gerber said. “We battled it out the third and fourth, but it was a disappointing end.”
Against the Wolverines, freshman Kara Morgan stepped in for the injured Detlefsen and recorded six kills, five blocks, finished 19-for-20 serving and came up with several key digs.
Mooney added 11 kills, while Harlow chipped in with eight kills and five blocks. Kotz dished out 26 assists, five kills and 12 digs.
Brittany Rhodes contributed with three kills and four blocks, while Martinez added 11 digs and finished 11-for-11 serving. Wright chipped in with 10 digs.
Despite the rough showing in the state tournament, the Titans capped off a great year with their third straight showing at state. Overall, Coal Ridge finished 20-7 (7-0).
“I am extremely proud of this team and how far they have come. We peaked at the right time and had a chance. Kaitlyn’s injury was heartbreaking for all of us; she has led us all year, and the team was sick when she went down.
“Life is not always fair, and the girls learned a hard but valuable lesson as they move forward. I believe this will make us hungrier to get back to state and work even harder in the off-season. We had a great run this year and do not take for granted that opportunity.”
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As the heat of the summer gives way to cooler mornings, summer trail race opportunities are slowly coming to an end.