Aspen volleyball sweeps up against rival Basalt |

Aspen volleyball sweeps up against rival Basalt

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jon Maletz/The Aspen TimesAspen players, coaches and fans celebrate after Tuesday's win.

ASPEN – Aspen volleyball coach Clay Dahlman says playing downvalley rival Basalt always brings out the best in his squad.

Tuesday’s bout with the visiting Longhorns was just the thing the Skiers needed to halt a recent slide.

Aspen overcame some early struggles and cruised to a 25-19, 25-17, 25-9 victory – its second sweep of Basalt this season.

“The girls can probably tell you all the matches they didn’t show up for, but if we play with this heart at all times versus all opponents … this team can play with anyone in the league,” Dahlman said.

“Our big hitters were swinging for the rafters early and not keeping the ball in play, but we made some nice adjustments.”

The Skiers scored nine of Game 1’s first 11 points, but a string of miscues gave the Longhorns life. Basalt battled back to momentarily square things at 15, but Aspen responded.

It closed the game with six straight points, the last coming on a kill from Shannon Turbidy.

In Game 2, the Skiers (5-6) opened with an 8-1 lead and were never seriously tested by a Basalt side that was done in by its own slew of miscues.

“It’s constantly been error after error. We can’t seem to pick ourselves up,” Longhorns head coach Mike Whittlef said. “It’s been a problem all year. Once we’re up, we stay up, but when we’re not it is all downhill from then on. … It kills me to watch that.”

Things would get no better for the Longhorns (3-7) in the deciding game. They were overwhelmed at the net and struggled to string together enough passes to give their front line scoring opportunities.

Aspen, which had lost three of its previous four matches, had no such problems.

“The girls gave a great all-around effort,” Dahlman said. “What we talk about in practice all the time is ‘What can I do as an individual to contribute.’ What we saw tonight was 10 players – more like 12, 13 or 14 – giving it their all whether it was spirit, drive or keeping the ball in play.

“It’s always dangerous when you win Game 1. You wonder which team is going to show up in Games 2 and 3. … We stayed steady, continued to attack and put the pressure on.”

The crisp Skiers jumped out a 15-4 lead in the final game. They closed out the win with a well-timed block to improve their home record to 3-0.

Both Aspen and Basalt host Gunnison and Olathe – two of the Western Slope’s top teams – on Saturday.

“We’re going after every team that comes in this gym,” Dahlman said. “We’ve been on the road for a while and it’s been a little rough. We’ve got a little crawling back to do … but we’ve got a lot of games coming up at home. That should bode well for us.”

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