Vikings too tough for Titans on 1st day of state volleyball tournament
For the Post Independent
DENVER — Coal Ridge gained Valley’s attention.
Even though it might have been an accomplishment in itself to make one of the state’s most successful volleyball programs over the past decade take notice, it still wasn’t enough for the Titans to score an upset during Day 1 of the Class 3A State Championships.
Despite being swept — 25-14, 25-20, 25-23 — Coal Ridge (19-7), seeded 11th of 12 teams, didn’t allow the second-seeded Vikings (23-3) to escape their state tournament opener without breaking a sweat, as they’ve done so many times before.
“We started out timid, and it took us too long to warm up and start playing like we’re used to,” said Titans senior setter Maggie Bell, who had 12 assists. “After [the slow start] we kind of figured it out and did what we’ve been doing all season.”
Coal Ridge will try to parlay its scrappiness into a win when it plays its second of two Pool II matches against another team from the famed Patriot League, No. 7 Platte Valley (17-8), at approximately 11 a.m. today.
After a first set dominated by the Vikings — who have won two of the last four 3A titles — the Titans jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in Set 2 before Valley used its trademark whirlwind defense to create a narrow advantage late.
“We’re definitely used to seeing [those attacks] hit the floor most of the time,” Coal Ridge junior middle hitter Kaitlyn Detlefsen said. “I just couldn’t let it get in my head that they were digging everything. I just had to keep playing and keep hitting hard, because they are definitely a good digging team.”
Led by Detlefsen (11 kills, three stuff blocks), the Titans had enough front-row power to counter the Vikings’ tenacious back-row defense.
Unfortunately for Coal Ridge, when Valley wasn’t stifling the Titans’ momentum with a sudden dig, Coal Ridge was shooting itself in the foot with an untimely miscue.
The Titans struggled at the service line where they committed seven errors to go with a dozen attack errors in the three sets.
“We can’t play a good team and have errors like that,” Coal Ridge coach Scott Black said. “We have to play consistently from the get-go, and that’s what I told them. We can’t wait two games to start playing.”
The Titans will try to correct those errors as they prepare to play another speedy team that hangs its hat on defense, Platte Valley.
The Broncos opened their state tournament campaign with a 25-23, 25-16, 25-19 loss against Valley.
“I think if we can build off of what we had at the end of [the Valley match] and take it into [today], I think we’ll be more focused and more prepared to play our game and play the way that we know we can,” Detlefsen said.
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