Basalt spikers prevail against Olathe | AspenTimes.com

Basalt spikers prevail against Olathe

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

BASALT ” Basalt volleyball coach Dave Drozd is convinced most of the 3A Western Slope is writing off his team.

The reigning conference champions will be hard to overlook now.

The Longhorns shook off a sluggish start and a one-game deficit Saturday against visiting Olathe, rallying for three straight wins to pull out the four-game victory (21-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-21) ” their third in five days against Slope foes.

“I hope people keep doubting us,” Drozd said. “We’re definitely not as athletic as teams in the past, but you know what? The competitiveness and the heart is a lot better than I’ve seen.”

The Pirates (1-2 overall, 1-1 conference) opened play with a flurry of powerful shots at the net to seize the early lead. Middle blocker Briana Vigil and outside hitter Morgan Stansberry had two kills each and Basalt had three unforced errors during an opening run in which Olathe pulled ahead, 8-2.

The Longhorns (5-0, 3-0) took advantage of Pirates miscues to climb back into the game, twice pulling to within three points. They spoiled three Olathe game points but ultimately couldn’t overcome the slow start, losing 25-21.

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“The same thing happened the night before. It’s becoming a trend,” Drozd said. Basalt dropped its first game to Roaring Fork on Thursday. “I’m not worried. This team has done that so many times.”

That confidence was rewarded during a tight second game filled with long rallies and solid play on both sides of the net. The teams shared the lead six times during the early going, but Basalt ultimately seized control with 5-0 run that broke open a 12-all game. Jade Johnson, Kehau Vegas and Ashley Soucie recorded kills and Maggie Everett an ace during the run.

The Pirates pulled to within one at 23-22 when Emily Brummitt’s kill capped a 5-0 run. But an error at the net, then an attempted block that sailed wide clinched a Longhorns win.

“We just had to get ourselves back in the groove,” Vegas said. “Once we started swinging big, we started to catch up.”

And to dominate. Basalt’s strong play at the net helped it jump out to a 16-5 Game 3 lead. Olathe helped fuel the Longhorns’ run with a net violation then four consecutive errant kill attempts. Basalt cruised to the 12-point win to seize the lead in the match.

While it was tested often during a tight fourth game, Basalt wasn’t about to squander the chance to remain undefeated. Heather Nemiec and Vegas teamed up on consecutive blocks, then Shelby Holmes killed a ball down the middle to give the Longhorns an 8-6 lead.

Taylor Young, Kelsi Middleton and Lindsay Case each had kills as the Pirates momentarily took a 14-12 lead. Basalt answered by scoring five of the next six points. The two teams shared the lead twice more down the stretch, but all hopes of a Pirates rally were dashed when Jessica Byers’ attempted cross-court kill clipped the net, clinching a 25-21 Longhorns victory.

The champions are still on top.

“It seems like in every [match] we need a wake-up [call],” Vegas said. “We didn’t start well, but I’m glad we finished strong.”

Basalt next plays Tuesday against Coal Ridge in New Castle.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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