Aspen High volleyball holds off Basalt Longhorns to reach 3-0 on the season

Aspen High School volleyball vs. Basalt from Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Three matches into the season and the Aspen High School volleyball team was finally tested. After sweeping their way through early-season wins against Moffat County and Roaring Fork, Tuesday’s game at Basalt proved to be a little more difficult.

“It’s exciting to see them finally have a little bit more of a challenge. It really kind of highlights what we need to work on,” AHS coach Bailey Holmes said. “Basalt came out with this crazy energy and I just told my girls, ‘They are going to kick your butts if you don’t match that energy,’ and they came out and matched it.”

Aspen won the match 3-1 to move to 3-0 on the season. It was the first match of the season for the Longhorns, now 0-1.

AHS played like a team with more court time this season, as it won the first set of Tuesday’s match 25-10. The Skiers led 7-0 before Basalt got on the board, and used another 6-0 run to cruise to the early set win.

The Longhorns kept the second set close but eventually lost 25-23. AHS used a 7-0 run in the set to take a 22-17 lead, although BHS answered with its own 5-0 rally before a final point sealed the deal for Aspen.

“Aspen has a good program and I think our girls were a little nervous to face them in their first game right out of the gate,” Basalt co-coach David Chadbourne said. “In the first game we had to work through some jitters. Second game we got a little more confident.”

Backs against the wall, Basalt went hit for hit with Aspen in the third set. Tied at 22 apiece, the Longhorns dug deep to pull out the 25-22 set win. It was the first set loss for Aspen this season.

“Losing can be something that just kills your entire momentum,” Holmes said. “I just told them it’s going to happen. You are going to lose and you got to come back and shake it off. It’s just one game.”

Aspen shook off the defeat by taking the fourth set 25-16 to secure their 3-0 start. The Skiers next play Thursday at Lake County.

Basalt hopes to use Tuesday’s opener as a building block going forward. The Longhorns have six seniors with varsity experience on the roster this season, and there is belief the team will be much stronger than last year’s 5-15 squad.

“We know we can beat them if we bring our best game, so that’s what we’ve got in the back of our minds,” BHS co-coach Amy Trautman said. “We are really excited about this group of girls because they’ve been playing together for a long time. This year we are really looking to come out strong with that starting lineup of those six.”

Basalt next hosts Gunnison on Saturday afternoon.