Aspen volleyball pulls out tight win over visiting Cedaredge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – One player joked Friday that Aspen dropped Games 3 and 4 on purpose so they could help raise more money for breast cancer awareness.
Head coach Clay Dahlman surely will take that excuse, especially after his squad’s fifth win in the last six matches.
In addition to receiving donations and pledges that generated more than $8,000 for the fight against cancer, the Skiers shook off some sluggish play in the middle of Friday’s match with dominating play in the deciding game, downing the Bruins 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 15-7.
“I challenged the girls all season to play their best volleyball, and they are rolling now,” Dahlman said. “We’ve gotten two key players back from injury and made a few personnel changes. Now we have an opportunity, even after our slow start, to target fifth place in league.
“Making a ton of cash for cancer awareness is also a sweet part of the story.”
With the win, Aspen improved to 6-10 overall and 6-9 in 3A Western Slope play. It was far from easy.
The Skiers and Cedaredge shared the lead nine times during a seesaw Game 1, before Aspen seized control with a late flurry. The Skiers capitalized on four consecutive Bruins miscues to take a 23-18 lead. They closed out the game with two kills from senior Shannon Peirce, who also dominated on the defensive end with 13 blocks – breaking her single-game mark of 11 set last season against Basalt.
The Skiers pulled out another win in Game 2 seemingly to take control of the match.
“The girls came out firing tonight, but they might have gotten a little too comfortable in Game 3,” Dahlman said.
And Game 4.
“At that point, you have to take a deep breath,” the coach added. “Again, it’s a matter of not putting this match away. We took it to a dangerous fifth game where anything can happen, but the girls got serious about their mission.”
Madison Murdoch produced two consecutive aces, and the Skiers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the deciding game. Cedaredge crept back in, but Aspen never relinquished the lead.
Murdoch also chipped in with 24 digs and 33 assists, while teammate Bailey Everhart led the Skiers with 33 digs and 14 kills. Ali Kerr, who made the move from outside hitter to the middle, had 10 kills.
“We’re definitely streaking. Our only loss [in the last six] came against league-dominating Roaring Fork,” Dahlman said. “It’s been fun. It’s a different point of view from where we were sitting at the onset [of the season].”
Aspen visits Gunnison Saturday, then hosts Rifle at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Basalt volleyball team picked up its second win in the last three matches, downing visiting Grand Valley 25-14, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21. The Longhorns, who improved to 8-8 overall and 7-8 in league play, visit Gunnison on Friday, then close out the regular season at home Oct. 23 against Cedaredge.
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