Titans storm back to beat Demons in five sets
It appears as if the valuable experience gained over Labor Day weekend at the Lewis Palmer Invitational came into play earlier than expected for the Coal Ridge Titans girls volleyball team.
Just a few days after traveling to Colorado Springs to take on prominent Triple-A and Quad-A schools in which the Titans split a four-game trip 2-2, the Titans showed heart and determination Tuesday night, rallying from down 2-0 to storm back and win 3-2 over the Glenwood Springs Demons to open conference play.
“I just told them keep fighting,” Coal Ridge head coach Aimee Gerber said. “You know, we’re a young team – I had a freshman and two sophomores on the court. I told them not to give up and to keep working hard and make the little things better.
“This past weekend we saw a lot of heavy hitting teams, so that experience definitely came into play tonight against Glenwood. They’re a great team.”
Led by sophomore Santana Martinez’s excellent serves (11-for-12 serving with three aces) and senior Kaitlyn Detlefsen’s 27 kills, the Titans rallied in all three set wins to pull off the comeback.
Dropping the first two sets – 25-23 and 25-22 – in disappointing fashion after leading both sets throughout, the Titans found themselves leading 15-10 midway through set three. However, a quick timeout by Glenwood Springs head coach Sarah Ryan stopped the Titans momentum. Following the timeout, the Demons went on a 5-1 run to pull within one, 16-15.
Keeping the score close, the Demons fell behind 23-20 late in the set before rallying to tie the set 24-24 by overcoming some defensive mishaps. By tying up the score, the Demons held serve looking to close off the comeback and sweep the Titans, but an errant serve and a net violation gave the Titans a big 26-24 win to stay alive.
Knowing that they blew a chance to end the match, the Demons raced out to a 15-10 lead in set four before Coal Ridge head coach Aimee Gerber called a quick timeout of her own.
Coming out of the timeout, the Titans struggled to flip the switch as the Demons kept their foot on the gas. However, a few defensive mishaps and some timely plays by Coal Ridge saw the Titans muscle their way back into the fourth set, trailing 22-19 late.
Much like the Demons did in set three, the Titans rallied to tie set four at 22-22. Another Demons net violation, a huge block at the net by Detlefsen and a huge kill at game point sealed the win for the Titans, 25-23, tying the match at 2-2.
In the pivotal fifth set, the Titans raced out to a 6-1 lead before the Demons regained control, tying it at 10-10. Once the pivotal set was tied, Gerber called timeout to slow things down for her young team.
“I told them to calm down and take a deep breath,” a relieved Gerber said. “We knew we were going to have to fight for the win, but we had to do it one point at a time. And we had to get out passes up to target to get our offense going.”
Following the timeout by Gerber, Glenwood Springs continued to pull away in hopes of holding off the Titans, but three straight points and a big play at the net by a host of Titans sealed the 16-14 stunning victory for Coal Ridge.
Defensively for the Titans, sophomore libero Emily Wright stole the show in the middle, consistently keeping her team alive in big spots on her way to 23 digs. Offensively, Dana Kotz led the way for Coal Ridge with a team-high 51 assists in the five-set win, and junior outside hitter Nicole Mooney chipped in with 10 kills.
“[Emily] is new to the position [of libero],” Gerber said. “She’s young, and she said she was a bit scared before the game, but she did a great job; had a ton of digs and was right on target. Kaitlyn [Detlefsen] was great as well; she really poured it on tonight. The little things came together and they all worked hard.”
The Demons and Titans will continue conference play as Glenwood Springs hosts Roaring Fork, Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., while the Titans are off until Sept. 15 when they host Grand Valley at 6:30 p.m.
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