Volleyball: Aspen beats Basalt in home opener | AspenTimes.com

Volleyball: Aspen beats Basalt in home opener

Aspen High School volleyball player Leelah Ahumada, right, attempts to return a serve against Basalt on Tuesday in Aspen. The Skiers won in their home opener, 3-1.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

There were some obvious butterflies to deal with for the Aspen High School volleyball team Tuesday in its home opener against Basalt. The first serve of the match went straight into the net, and the Longhorns soon had a 4-0 lead in the opening set.

Once the fluttering stopped, it was smooth sailing for the Skiers.

“We had a case of the jitters for sure,” Aspen coach Matt Bergdahl said. “I was proud of them for getting over it and running through the second part of that first set. That was good. I was pretty happy.”

Despite some moxie from the Longhorns, Aspen did enough to hold on for a 3-1 victory, its first win of the season. Set scores were 25-13, 22-25, 25-17 and 25-19.

“That was a fun match,” Bergdahl said. “It was one we expected to win. We would have liked to get it done in three instead of four.”

After rallying from four down to easily win that first set, Aspen needed another rally in the second set after falling behind 18-12. The Skiers went as far as taking a 20-19 lead, but feeding off an impressive Longhorn crowd, Basalt controlled the final stretch to sneak out an important set win.

“It helps, just the cheering from the fans,” Basalt coach Kara Lindahl said. “The girls did a great job. That second game, we had it all. We are just going to remember that game and build on that one.”

The third set was neck-and-neck until it was 13-all, before Aspen took the match over and never looked back. The Skiers jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the fourth set and held off a couple of minor Longhorn rallies to put the match away.

Basalt (2-3) is a “junior heavy” squad this season, one that already is ahead of schedule in regard to wins compared with the past three years. The Longhorns are scheduled to play at Gunnison on Saturday and at Roaring Fork on Tuesday.

“It’s a younger team, but these girls have been playing together a long time now,” Lindahl said. “You can see in their play that they are really working together. They have a lot of drive. We are just building on that, and we are doing a great job.”

Aspen (1-1) has one more match — Thursday at home against Lake County — before the students enter their experimental education week with no matches. Bergdahl enjoyed what he saw Tuesday against Basalt and hopes to see that energy continue through their early-season break.

“I’m hoping we can come out of that with the same enthusiasm and same readiness. I guess that’s my job, to get them ready after ex-ed,” Bergdahl said. “But I’m very excited about the team, generally, because each week we get better and better. It’s just loaded with athletes.”


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