Titans persevere against Bears
RIFLE — Rifle High School’s volleyball team did its best on Thursday to mount a couple of comebacks. The Coal Ridge Titans wouldn’t let that happen.
Britini Allen finished with a match-high 11 kills and Kaitlyn Detlefsen added seven kills for the Titans, who held off the home-town Bears 25-15, 25-19, 25-15 in a nonleague match at the Rifle High gym.
“I told them I liked the fact that we didn’t panic during those spurts,” Coal Ridge coach Scott Black said. “I liked the fact that we responded and were able to overcome adversity like that.”
That’s been key so far for the Titans (3-1 overall), who won their third consecutive match following a season-opening loss to Class 4A Battle Mountain. And the Titans were able to do it with several players fighting off a flu bug, including Detlefsen and setter Maggie Bell.
Bell, by the way, finished with 16 assists. Bailey Davis chipped in six kills for Coal Ridge, which withstood a string of errors in the second game — coupled with some stellar net play by the Bears — on their way to the three-game sweep.
“We played scared against Battle Mountain [on Aug. 26],” Black said. “We didn’t play scared tonight.”
Tara Ruggles finished with a team-high six kills and Veronica Santoyo added 10 digs for the Bears (0-5), who also were fighting off sickness and were missing middle hitter Annie Schmidt, who sprained her left ankle during the Demon Invitational in Glenwood Springs this past weekend. Regardless, Rifle was able to block well and used that net play to get themselves back in the match, making a gallant effort to rally from an 11-3 deficit in the second game and a 21-9 hole in the third.
“The girls are all pretty level-headed,” Rifle coach Erin Reider said. “The one thing that needs to change is they need to continue to push. Then we somehow hit a wall, and we have a hard time pushing beyond that. The hitting speaks for itself. We’ve got to finish plays.”
Coal Ridge did a lot of finishing in the first game, then continued that in the second when a tip-over kill from Allen gave the Titans an 11-3 lead. Coal Ridge’s ensuing serve went into the net, however, and it sparked a 12-5 run that pulled the Bears within 16-15. The Titans, however, responded with four consecutive points before scoring seven of the next nine to pull away.
The Titans carried that into the third game and took a commanding 21-9 lead after a kill from Davis and a hitting error by Rifle. A kill from Cheyanne Miller right afterward, though, sparked a 6-5 run that pulled the Bears within 22-15. But Coal Ridge again responded, getting a pair of kills from Allen and an ace from Kellie Larsen to end it.
Rifle plays next when it opens Class 4A Western Slope League play on Sept. 11 at Battle Mountain. Coal Ridge goes to the Lewis Palmer Invitational near Colorado Springs on Saturday to play agaist a field that includes 4a teams like Montrose, Pueblo West and Berthoud.
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