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Tourneys take over

Want to see your favorite prep volleyball team in action? It’s probably a safe bet at least one of the area’s high school teams is involved in tournaments at nearby gyms this weekend.Friday marks the opening of the two-day, 12-team Demon Invitational at Glenwood Springs High School. Pool play starts at 4:30 p.m. at Chavez-Spencer Gym and the high school’s auxiliary gym. Optimism is high for the host Demons entering the season. Seven starters return from last year’s state qualifying team.The approach of the team, said Glenwood’s first-year coach Scott Nykirk, is to set a tone for the entire season.”They see the tournament as a chance to show this team is as strong or stronger than ever,” Nykirk said.Tourneys: see page A19With a glut of veterans on the roster, Glenwood has earned high marks among Class 4A teams statewide. Entering the tournament, the Demons are the No. 8 in Rocky Preps Class 4A 2005 preseason top-10 poll.As an opener, the Demons take on Meeker, No. 7 in the state Class 2A rankings, as its first Pool A opponent. The match is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Other teams in Glenwood’s pool include Class 5A Grand Junction and Denver Christian from the 3A Metropolitan League. Roaring Fork, which advanced to the 2004 Class 3A regionals, is in Pool C. The Rams open pool play against Grand Junction Central at the auxiliary gym at 4:30 p.m. Two private schools – Denver Christian and Vail Christian – are also part of the pool.Rams coach Karen Crownhart feels good about the Roaring Fork advancing beyond last season’s accomplishments. The coach intends to use this weekend’s tournament to get the team used to a new lineup that includes two new setters in Sarah Armstrong and Taylor Wagner.”I want to go in and want to see how we work together, then make changes for the (league) season,” Crownhart said. “Winning and losing isn’t as big an importance as to let the girls try the rotations we have. We’ll use the tournament for that.” Pool B consists of two 5A teams – Fruita Monument and Regis – with Class 3A Hotchkiss and 2A West Grand.Pool play resumes 9 a.m. Saturday at the high school and at the Glenwood Springs Middle School gym.Teams will be seeded, according to record, at the end of pool play for that afternoon’s championship round. Semifinal contests are slated to begin at 2 and 3:15 p.m. The two winning teams play at 4:30 p.m.Also on Saturday, eight teams will convene on Parachute to play in the Grand Valley Invitational Tournament.Highlights of that event include the first appearance of Coal Ridge High School. And, the Titans won’t have long to get acclimated to high school play.They draw host Grand Valley, directed by new head coach Scott Carpenter, at 9 a.m. Basalt has been placed in the opposite pool. The Longhorns face Telluride for their first match at 10 a.m.”This is a nice way for me to start as a head coach,” Carpenter said. “Here’s a chance for us to see how we’re going to do against a bunch of teams at one time. It’s going to be a great learning experience.”Learning the game is a main goal for Coal Ridge, whose roster consists entirely freshmen and sophomores.”(The tournament) is just the start for us to see where we are at and what we need to work on,” said Titans head coach Denise Greene. “We’re going to try to improve every game and every match. The hardest thing is, we’re young.”Pool play matches continue all morning through 2 p.m. The teams with the top four records in pool play move into the championship bracket in the Main Gym at 3 p.m. Consolation matches will be held at the same time at the high school’s auxiliary gym.


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