Aspen volleyball blanks Basalt in opener |

Aspen volleyball blanks Basalt in opener

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesAspen's Hannah Hemming soars to block a shot from the Longhorns' Cira Mylott during Thursday's season opener in Basalt.

BASALT – As a Basalt volleyball player’s serve sailed long and out of play Thursday, Aspen’s Bailey Everhart turned and attempted to avoid the ball; it wound up drilling her square in the back, a sequence that drew a wry smile from the senior and mock cheers from a raucous Longhorns cheering section.

Everhart quieted the home crowd soon after. She served up five aces and produced 10 kills – including three in a row following her slight gaffe that helped the Skiers seal Game 1 – and Aspen exploited its size and strength on the front line to pull out a sloppy 25-21, 25-20, 25-19, season-opening victory over its downvalley rivals.

“We loved the big crowd. I think it really drove us, and they were energized by it,” Skiers head coach Clay Dahlman said. “The girls love coming down here and playing. They showed a lot of poise tonight.”

Aspen erased sizable deficits in Games 1 and 2. Trailing 10-5 in the opener, the Skiers capitalized on five consecutive Basalt miscues – two errant serves and a dig that drilled the ceiling, among others – to square things at 11.

The two sides exchanged points for a stretch before Everhart and Aspen’s front line took control. The Skiers closed with a 6-3 run and clinched Game 1 after a Longhorns serve sailed well long.

Lindsay Corzine produced a kill and a block, then Ana Morales came up with consecutive aces in Game 2, helping Basalt amass an early 14-7 lead. Aspen pulled to within five at 19-14, then reeled off six consecutive points.

“We had seven missed serves and seven [hitting errors] in Game 2. … You can’t do that,” Dahlman said. “If we eliminate those errors we can be tough and play at a higher level. It’s early in the season.”

Shannon Turbidy, Maggie Ryan and Nevada Crandall produced kills down the stretch, sparking a 5-0 run that helped Aspen close out the game and take command of the match.

“We’re a young team … and we’re still working out all the kinks,” Longhorns head coach Mike Whittlef said. “We need to grow a little bit, but they have heart. I know that.”

While Basalt showcased good energy, they were done in by a slew of unforced and untimely mistakes. After battling back to square things at six in the third game, the Longhorns first hit a serve, then a dig into the net, sparking a 4-0 Skiers run. Aspen later jumped out to a 19-12 lead – more than enough of a cushion to absorb a late Basalt rally – and scored the match’s final five points.

Tateh Hooper and Turbidy combined for eight kills for the Skiers, who will take on Olathe and Gunnison on the road Saturday.

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