Aspen High volleyball stays perfect with 3-1 win over Gunnison on Tuesday

Aspen High School's Mary Williams goes up for a kill attempt against visiting Gunnison on Tuesday inside the AHS gymnasium.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

If missing an entire week of practice and games because of experiential education is a deterrent to quality play on the court, the Aspen High School volleyball team didn’t show it on Tuesday. In their first game since Sept. 7 because of ex-ed, the Skiers rolled through Gunnison in four sets to stay unbeaten on the season.

“Practice (Monday) was interesting,” AHS coach Bailey Holmes said. “It’s hard to come back after not practicing for a week, so I definitely had nerves for today. They just came in and acted like ex-ed never happened. So that’s awesome.”

Aspen’s 3-1 win over Gunnison on Tuesday was a rarity. According to MaxPreps, the Skiers have only beaten Gunnison once in 16 matches going back to the fall of 2007 (the farthest back MaxPreps’ stats go).

That lone win came Oct. 10, 2015, also 3-1.

Gunnison (5-5 overall) has won double-digit games all but one year since 2007, including a 25-win season in 2012 and a 23-win season in 2013. The Cowboys went 12-11 in 2016.

On the other end of the spectrum, Aspen volleyball hasn’t finished the season above .500 since going 12-10 in 2008.

“It’s fun. I think that’s the best word to explain it,” Holmes said of the Skiers’ hot start to the season. “It feels good. We are having a lot of fun and winning helps that fun.”

Aspen won the first set of Tuesday’s match, 25-23, but let the second set slip away with a 25-21 loss. The third set was even until about the midway point, when Aspen grew a 15-14 lead into as much as a five-point advantage to win the set 25-21 and take a critical 2-1 lead in the match.

“Losing is part of the game, and overcoming those losses is an even bigger part,” Holmes said. “Everyone has off days or off games, and it’s good that they can shake it off and come back and get the win.”

Gunnison kept the fourth set close early, trailing by only a point at 9-8. From there, Aspen was nearly unstoppable en route to a dominant 25-12 set win to claim the match.

Aspen (5-0) will look to stay perfect when it next plays at a struggling Grand Valley team on Saturday.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Holmes said of the 5-0 start. “They are going home super confident tonight.”