Aspen volleyball nips Roaring Fork
The Aspen Times
The Skiers had to work overtime Thursday night.
But they cashed a big paycheck.
The Aspen High School volleyball team came from behind to force a fifth and deciding set in Thursday’s Western Slope League marathon match against visiting Roaring Fork.
Then, the Skiers came from behind again to beat the Rams in their longest — and most dramatic — match of the season — 23-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14, 18-16.
“We talked about finishing the season strong, and that’s what the girls are doing,” Aspen head coach Matt Bergdahl said amid the wild celebration after the Skiers won their second consecutive conference match. “We talked about … getting into position to make some noise at the District Tournament.”
plenty of noise
There was plenty of noise Thursday night when Shannon Turbidy’s back-row kill finally gave the Skiers a chance at match point with a 17-16 lead in the fifth set on Aspen’s senior night.
A tough serve from teammate Sadie Alpern forced a Roaring Fork misplay, and the Skiers celebrated the 18-16 victory with an enthusiastic student cheering section that spilled onto the floor of the Aspen High School gymnasium.
The increasingly loud student fans had watched Turbidy pound five kills in the short fifth game, including a pair that broke through the Roaring Fork block at the net.
Fellow senior Mary Landis blasted two more kills in the final set, and senior Sophie Stuber added another as the Skiers improved their overall record to 7-11. They are 2-7 in the Western Slope League.
Roaring Fork (8-10, 4-5 in league) moved into position to take the fifth game when Taila Howe drilled a pair of kills off sets from Toni Gross.
An ace serve from Josie Harn also helped the Rams’ cause.
When Rosa Maun’s block produced another Roaring Fork point, the Rams led 11-9 only to see the Skiers answer.
Roaring Fork led again in the match at 15-14 when Howe tipped a kill shot over the Aspen block.
A Rams’ hitting error tied the match before Turbidy’s kills pushed the Skiers over the top in the set and the match.
Just like the final set, the previous four were back-and-forth — and close.
Roaring Fork, working the middle with short sets from Gross to Muan, won the tense third set to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Rams never trailed in the set.
Facing a loss in the fourth set, the Skiers responded with their most explosive set of the season.
They went on an 8-2 run, helped by two big kills from Turbidy, to lead 14-7.
Landis, Libby Dowley, Jessica Tyler and Blake Harvey contributed kills, boosted by a scrambling Aspen defense as the Skiers closed out the set at 25-14.
A similar scrambling defense and streaking offense helped the Skiers even the match after Roaring Fork had won the opening set.
The Skiers used an 8-0 run to take command. Cameron Stover-Donaubauer added a key block and a kill, and the Skiers won the second set, 25-20.
That set the stage for more drama in sets 3, 4 and 5.
Back to back
Aspen, which had swept Basalt on Tuesday night, finished the regular season with back-to-back wins for the first time all season.
The Skiers and the Rams both head to the Western Slope District Tournament Oct. 25-26 at Central High School in Grand Junction.
The Western Slope League is led by Gunnison, 8-0 in league play and 15-3 overall entering play Thursday night.
Coal Ridge and Olathe are tied at 7-1. Coal Ridge is 15-2 and Olathe 14-3 entering Thursday night.
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Once the Aspen High School defense woke up — random 4 p.m. kickoffs need some getting used to — the Skiers were able to dictate Saturday’s football game en route to a 22-7 victory over visiting Steamboat Springs on the AHS turf.