Longhorns spikers sweep Roaring Fork | AspenTimes.com

Longhorns spikers sweep Roaring Fork

Nate Peterson

There’s a reason Basalt’s girls volleyball team is 12-1 overall and rolling toward a critical rematch against the only team to beat the Longhorns this season, 3A Western Slope leader Gunnison.Make that numerous reasons.The Longhorns showed off their versatility Tuesday night at home with a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-12, 25-19) of downvalley rival Roaring Fork.First, there was the offense. Junior middle blocker Dayne Toney and senior outside hitter Bailey Holmes pounded the Rams at the front of the net, with Toney tallying 15 kills and Holmes adding 12.Then there was the defense. Holmes finished with 13 digs, while senior Sam Christensen added 12 of her own. If that wasn’t enough, the ‘Horns showcased some strong serving: Christensen had two aces in the first game, while junior Alia Munger served for seven straight Basalt points in the third game, including four serves that Roaring Fork couldn’t return.There was also the performance of senior setter Elisabeth Nemiec – arguably the most important player on the floor for Basalt. Nemiec kept the Rams off balance with a mix of short sets to Toney and long, cross-court sets to Holmes, as well as a handful of other assists to Shelby Holmes and Christensen. She finished with a match-high 29 assists.Basalt trailed early in the first and third games but otherwise looked completely in control during the match. Afterward, however, head coach Dave Drozd and Nemiec both made comments that made it seem as if Basalt struggled, not dominated.”I’m not really going to complain. It’s a 3-0 victory,” Drozd said. “It was pretty rough at times, though. We’re adjusting to a new lineup. I thought for the most part we just didn’t bring the intensity for most of the match. We had bits and spurts of it, and I thought Bailey did a great job on the outside … but the setting was somewhat inconsistent, and we still have some things to work on.””I think we just played good enough tonight,” Nemiec added. “I think we can play a lot better.”Roaring Fork senior outside hitters Erika Pelland and Kali Chestnut were impressive against Basalt’s tall front line, hitting through Basalt’s block multiple times off well-placed sets from Taylor Wagner. But the Rams couldn’t maintain any momentum, and struggled to stave off Basalt at crucial junctures.Such was evident in the first game, where Basalt rallied from a 7-4 deficit to knot the game at 12. The game was tied six times after that before Basalt made a final push for the 25-20 win. In the third game, the Rams jumped out to a 7-1 lead off four kills from Pelland, another from junior Rebecca Roeber and two Basalt hitting errors.But then the Longhorns came charging back, stringing together a 14-3 run that was keyed by Munger’s serving. Holmes also had the play of the night during the run, first making a circus dig to return a Roaring Fork spike, then charging to the front of the net to stuff the Rams’ Celeste Commings.”I think communication was a big thing, and our attitude,” Roaring Fork coach Kacey Daugherty said. “When we get down we get frustrated and don’t talk to each other and we let balls drop. … We’ve got to not be afraid about making mistakes.”The Longhorns, now 6-1 in the 3A Western Slope, host Coal Ridge on Friday night, then Olathe the following Friday before the rematch with Gunnison on Saturday, Oct. 14. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com