Aspen volleyball falters
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Skiers appeared poised to square Saturday’s volleyball match against Cedaredge.
They battled back from a 24-22 deficit in Game 2, scoring three consecutive points. Aspen could not finish off the Bruins, however, and let a chance at a fourth victory this season slip away.
Cedaredge prevailed, 27-25, in Game 2 and dominated down the stretch to secure the three-game sweep.
“Game 2 was a tough spot to be in, but the girls fought so hard,” Skiers head coach Clay Dahlman said. “There were tight, tight games, and after that, there was a softening of the spirit.”
Aspen (3-7), which squandered a 5-1 lead and came up two points short in a first game in which the two sides shared the lead nine times, came out firing in Game 2. Behind a pair of aces from Maggie Ryan and some stellar play at the net, the Skiers scored nine of the first 10 points, prompting a Cedaredge timeout.
“That was the explosive kind of volleyball we were looking for against Basalt that never showed up,” Dahlman said.
The Bruins slowly climbed backed into the game. During one stretch, after an emphatic kill and ace from Kristin Gardner, Jordan Smith dropped a well-placed shot between Aspen’s front and back lines, and Rachael Latta drilled the ball through an attempted block. One play later, a Skiers player was whistled for a double hit, squaring things at 14.
Later, an Aspen player tried to catch Cedaredge off guard with a quick drop shot, but the ball sailed wide, giving the Bruins game point at 24-22.
After an errant Bruins serve, Mary Landis and Ryan produced kills to give the Skiers life. It was quickly extinguished, however, after two Aspen miscues – a shot sailed well long, and then Aspen could not get the ball over the net in three shots.
Summer Herman then tracked down the ball near the net and hit a soft shot that found hardwood, securing a 27-25 Cedaredge win and a commanding two-game advantage.
The Bruins effectively put this match out of reach with an 8-3 spurt to open Game 3.
“Our backs were against the wall, and we got a little tentative,” Dahlman admitted. “They finished great, but it was too little, too late.”
The Skiers pulled to as close as four down the stretch but could not come all the way back. They now have dropped three of their past four matches.
“I was impressed with the performance,” Dahlman said. “I don’t think Cedaredge should stay too comfortable – they snuck through today. We’re going to continue to get very scary for other teams throughout the season.”
Aspen hosts Roaring Fork at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.