Volleyball: Aspen sweeps homecoming matches | AspenTimes.com

Volleyball: Aspen sweeps homecoming matches

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The surging Aspen High School volleyball team swept both homecoming matches this weekend, celebrating back-to-back victories over Olathe and Gunnison.

The Skiers came from two sets down to beat Olathe 3-2 (18-25, 14-25, 25-9, 25-21, 15-10) in a tension-packed match at the AHS Skierdome on Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon, the Skiers played another nail-biter, eventually beating Gunnison 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 28-26).

The Skiers won the first two sets before visiting Gunnison rallied in the third game behind Elizabeth Shaw's hitting and blocking.

The fourth set matched the match's back-and-forth momentum swings.

A strong service streak by Gunnison's Shay Percival helped the Cowgirls pull away from the Skiers.

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At 20-23, Gunnison led by seven points; at 22-14, Gunnison led by eight.

But a determined Aspen rally, including an ace serve from Katy Miller, a pair of blocks by Kaya Storm and a big kill from Nicole Bramson, pulled the Skiers closer.

Storm's block for Aspen at Gunnison's set point tied the game 24-24.

A block from Gunnison's Shaw produced another set point for the Cowgirls at 25-24.

Yet another block from Storm tied the set at 25-all with the home fans rocking the Skierdome with noise.

The Skiers averted yet another game point and eased ahead 27-26 on a cross-court kill from Leelah Ahumada.

One swing later, a spike to the floor by Aspen freshman Mary Williams netted the 28-26 set victory and the 3-1 match victory for the Skiers.

"The girls are finding themselves under pressure, which is a new and exciting thing," Aspen head coach Matt Bergdahl said. "It's a lot of fun to watch them right now."

He said the Skiers are playing aggressively, even when they fall behind as they did against Gunnsion.

"The girls are staying aggressive," said Bergdahl, who used his rotations to get contributions from Julia Bronoski, Kendall Anderson and the rest of the Skiers.

He said the Skiers needed a reminder in Game 4 when they fell behind 22-16.

"We just had a quick reminder that we were still ahead 2-1 (in sets). They were facing elimination," Bergdahl said. "The pressure's on them; this is our home court."

Instantly, the Skiers responded with a relaxed and confident stretch that produced the final victory.

"We needed to eliminate our mistakes," he said, "which we did."

The Skiers improved their record 2-2 in the Western Slope League and 3-7 overall with the Friday and Saturday victories.

Aspen will play at Coal Ridge on Tuesday in a conference match before nonleague matches at Eagle Valley on Thursday and Rifle next Saturday.

Aspen will play at Basalt on Oct. 22.

Gunnison fell to 6-10 overall, 1-3 in the Western Slope League with Saturday's loss at the Skierdome.

dstrode@aspentimes.com