Titans, Demons finish fourth, sixth at Coal Ridge Invitational | PostIndependent.com

Titans, Demons finish fourth, sixth at Coal Ridge Invitational

Coal Ridge junior Brecken Gucchini tips a shot over a Pagosa Springs defender at the net Saturday morning in the third and final pool play match of the Coal Ridge Volleyball Invitational.
Theresa Hamilton / Garfield RE-2

Wrapping up play on Day 2 at the Coal Ridge Volleyball Invitational Saturday at Coal Ridge High School in New Castle, the Coal Ridge Titans and Glenwood Springs Demons had tough endings to the tournament, as the Titans gave up a 2-0 lead to the Palisade Bulldogs in the third-place game, falling 3-2, while the Demons fell to the Cedaredge Bruins in four sets, 3-1, in the fifth-place game, ending the regular season for both programs as they now await playoff bracket releases.

Prior to the tournament-placement games, the Titans knocked off the Pagosa Springs Pirates 2-0 in the morning game, while the Demons fell to Battle Mountain, 2-1, cementing the two teams in their final round games.

Coming out against the Bruins in the fifth-place game, the Demons came out fast against the Bruins as senior Ashley Emery recorded an ace and a combination block with junior Emily Nilsson to give the Demons a 14-11 lead. A kill from senior Baylee Johnson gave the Demons a 15-14 lead later in the set, but the Bruins rallied to take a 19-18 lead before junior Shanik Zambrano tipped a shot over top of the Cedaredge defense to knot the set at 19-19.

Coming down to the wire, Nilsson closed out a long point for the Demons with a kill to give Glenwood a 22-21 lead. Unfortunately, the Demons allowed the Bruins to close out the first set with a 25-23 win, putting the Demons in a 1-0 hole.

The second set saw the Bruins control the tempo throughout, holding on for a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead. Down two games, the Demons found their footing in the third set as kills from Emery, Johnson, and Zambrano pushed the Demons out to a 24-21 lead late in the set before Zambrano finished off the third-set win with a kill, giving the Demons a 25-22 win.

In the fourth set the Bruins regrouped and pulled away from the Demons for a 25-17 win, giving Glenwood the sixth-place finish. The Demons closed out the regular season with an 11-13 (6-6 4A Western Slope League) record. Glenwood currently sits No. 34 in the 4A RPI rankings. The top 36 get into the regional tournaments in the 4A state playoffs.

For Coal Ridge, the 3-2 loss ended a frustrating weekend for a talented, yet up-and-down team in 2018. The Titans came out fast against the Bulldogs, taking the first set 25-23, racing out to a 4-0 lead behind kills from junior Lyanna Nevarez and sophomore Taylor Wiescamp, along with a combination block by Taylor and Alexa Wiescamp, but the Bulldogs battled back to tie it at 18-18 late in the set.

A tip from Taylor Wiescamp pushed Coal Ridge to a 24-19 lead before the Titans held on late for the 25-23 win on a net violation by Palisade, giving Coal Ridge a 1-0 lead.

The second set saw the Titans come out fast again, taking a 7-2 lead behind an ace from senior Kenzie Crawford, and two thunderous kills by Taylor Wiescamp, but the Bulldogs again stormed back as senior Alexandra MacAskill recorded two big kills back to back to make it an 8-7 game.

Kills from senior Kara Morgan and Nevarez pushed the Titans back out to a 15-11 lead before Crawford recorded an ace to make it 17-11, putting the Titans in control.

A kill from Alexa Wiescamp capped off the 25-16 win, putting the Titans on the brink of a sweep. Instead, the Bulldogs came alive, capturing third set late as the Titans held a 20-16 lead before falling 25-21. The fourth set saw Palisade in control early before a block from Alexa Wiescamp late made it 18-16 Titans, but Coal Ridge couldn’t find that knockout punch, falling 25-23 to force a fifth and final set.

Seemingly out of gas, the Titans couldn’t muster much of a fight in the final set, falling 15-9, allowing the Bulldogs to battle back from the 2-0 deficit for the 3-2 win.

The loss ends a strong season for the Titans, who won the 3A Western Slope League for the second consecutive season. The Titans finish the regular season with a 15-8 (9-0 3A WSL) record.

Currently, Coal Ridge sits 20th in the 3A RPI rankings, meaning they’ll have to travel for the regional tournament this year after hosting last season.

Volleyball’s regional playoff brackets will be released Sunday afternoon.

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