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Aspen volleyball set to dig for playoff berth

Tim Mutrie

The Aspen High varsity girls volleyball team finishes its regular season with three straight league games beginning Thursday at home against Basalt.

And, with any luck, the team will begin its 2000 postseason at the Oct. 27-28 district tournament.

Though it’s not quite do-or-die time for Aspen – 4-3 in league and 11-5 overall – in all likelihood the team needs to win its last three matches in order to earn a bye to the district tournament.

“Otherwise, we may have to play a pigtail match” Oct. 24 to earn one of the eight bids into the tournament, according to Aspen coach Matt Bergdahl.

The top-ranked team in the 11-team Class 3A Western Slope League is Olathe (8-2 in league), which has already clinched at least a share of the league title.

On Oct. 7, Aspen routed Olathe in two games, 15-9 and 15-1, in a match Bergdahl said typified Aspen’s inconsistent play all season.

“We’re trying to play consistently for these last three matches; that’s what we’ve lacked all season,” Bergdahl said. “When we play consistently, as well as we can, we’re tough to beat. I know it’s a cliche, `When we play our game, we’re tough,’ but it’s true.

“Physically, we can play well,” he continued, citing the Olathe game. “But trying to keep it together mentally is our biggest challenge. When we play as a unit, we can beat anybody.”

Regardless of how Aspen fares this weekend, the team will have a shot to advance to the regional tournament at the Oct. 27-28 districts in Grand Junction. The top two teams at districts (if Olathe hasn’t earned a bye to regionals by winning the league outright) then advance to the four-team regional tournament, before heading to states.

“The potential is there for us to win it,” Bergdahl said of districts. “We just have to put it together as a team, and desire is where its going to come from.”

“But for a young team, to be able to play with mostly juniors and do this well is impressive,” he added.

The Basalt High varsity girls volleyball team will also have a crack at districts, though the team will need to advance through the pigtail bracket in order to do so. Basalt, 1-7 in league, will likely play one of the lesser-ranked teams in the league Oct. 24 for a berth in the district tournament. The district tournament bracket will not be finalized until all league play is completed.

The Aspen High volleyball team plays Basalt in Aspen at 7 p.m. Thursday; on Saturday Aspen plays at Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High at 7 p.m.; on Saturday, Aspen plays Rangely at 3 p.m.

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Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2000


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