Aspen volleyball takes aim at regional tourney
Aspen volleyball is headed to the regional tournament Saturday in Middle Park after a second-place finish at the Class 3A Western Slope League district tournament in Grand Junction over the weekend.
On Saturday at Middle Park High School in Granby, Aspen will face the Roosevelt Roughriders at 9 a.m., then Middle Park Panthers at 12:45 p.m., then the Valley Vikings at 2 p.m. After all four schools have played one another, the top two teams will advance to the Class 3A state tournament.
At the district tournament in Grand Junction Saturday, the Skiers cruised through pool play with wins over Gunnison (10-15, 15-2, 15-9), Cedaredge (18-16, 15-9), and Olathe (15-7, 15-6).
Aspen then met Roaring Fork, who took second in their pool, and rallied to win (12-15, 15-9, 15-13). In the final, Aspen ran into Eagle Valley, the top team from the other pool and other semifinal winner.
“It was a grueling game and both teams were exhausted,” said Aspen coach Emily Bakker. “In the first game of the match, we didn’t put up much of a fight and Eagle Valley won 8-15.
“The second game we got our second wind, took an early lead, and handily defeated them 15-9. The final game was intense and well fought, but we lost 14-16.”
Aspen senior and Stanford recruit Lizzie Suiter had a phenomenal day with 10 aces, 48 kills, 37 blocks and 19 digs. Dana Fleisher had 10 aces, 42 kills, 7 blocks, and 33 digs, and Lindsay Patterson had 24 kills and 14 digs.
Jacqui Samborski added 9 aces and 22 digs, and Katy Cadger had a huge day with 128 assists and 18 digs.
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Sophomore Ava Lane is a flourishing star in her own right, but spends a lot of her time trying to chase down senior Sierra Bower and sophomore Katelyn Maley, both in practice and in races. This, however, is only making her stronger down the line and it’s not a task she will shy away from.