Titans fall, but proud of performance at state volleyball tournament
For the Post Independent
DENVER — Coal Ridge shared the court with two of Class 3A’s longtime volleyball contenders during its unofficial tour of the Patriot League this past weekend.
In the coming years, the Titans hope to have even more in common with the powerhouse programs from the northern Colorado-based league.
Coal Ridge, seeded 11th of 12 teams, wrapped up its season with a 2-0 loss against No. 7 Platte Valley during the final day of the 3A State Championships on Saturday at the Denver Coliseum.
The Titans (19-8) went point-for-point with the Broncos (18-9) — who have won a state record 12 state titles. Coal Ridge lost 25-23, 26-24 in the abbreviated match, which essentially served as a consolation match after second-seeded Valley locked up the semifinals berth out of Pool II on Friday.
“It’s frustrating, but we played hard and we did what we could,” Titans senior middle hitter Britni Allen said. “But, it feels good that we’ve been [to state], and I’m just proud of everyone on our team that got us here.”
Coal Ridge was swept — 25-14, 25-20, 25-23 — on Friday by the Vikings (25-3, going into Saturday’s semifinals), who went on to beat Manitou Springs, 3-1, in the semifinals.
Titans coach Scott Black praised his team for its uncompromising competitiveness, even though it couldn’t wrestle a set away from two programs from a Patriot League that produced the last four 3A champions coming into this tournament and has had at least one finalist in 19 of the past 22 seasons.
“We played five [sets in the tournament] and got to 23 first in three of them,” Black said. “I’m proud of them, because we didn’t go in there and make a bunch of errors and roll over and die. They had to get kills to beat us, and that’s what you want out of a big match.”
Coal Ridge was back in the state tournament this year after qualifying for the first time in program history a year ago.
As a program clearly on the rise, Black and his program will strive to do more than just share the same real estate with the Patriot League and other 3A heavy-hitters in coming years.
Coal Ridge outside hitter Bailey Davis said even as she and six other seniors move on, she believes the Titans have established the type of foundation that could produce a serious title contender in future seasons.
“We have so much to be proud of,” Davis said. “We were the first team from Coal Ridge ever to go to state. … [The younger players] have experience, and they can keep it going for us. So, I’m excited.”
Black summed up his program’s future prospects a bit more succinctly.
“We’ll be back,” said Black, predicting a return to the Denver Coliseum. “They have a lot to be proud of, that shows consistency — back-to-back regional champs, back-to-back teams getting to state.”
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