Basalt volleyball outlasts rival Aspen |

Basalt volleyball outlasts rival Aspen

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Even with a one-game lead and a 22-6 advantage in Game 2 of Tuesday’s match with visiting Aspen, Basalt volleyball player Nicole Booth insisted she was far from overconfident.”We can never take Aspen for granted,” the senior said. “We always expect a nice, hard game.”They have yet to notch a win this season, but the Skiers sure have plenty of fight. They battled back from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth game the last time they faced their downvalley rivals Sept. 25. Tuesday, Aspen rallied from 16 down to pull to as close as four in a Game 2 loss, then extended the match with a two point, Game 3 win. The Longhorns (4-12, 4-10 3A Western Slope) responded, closing Game 4 with nine consecutive points to pull out a 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-13 match win – their fourth of the season and first in nearly a month.”We didn’t think this would be a quick night,” Basalt head coach Stephanie Palmer said. “They always show up against us. But we were very much prepared. … The girls wanted it and were ready to leave it all on the court.”In a match with little more than team pride on the line, the Longhorns opened strong. They scored six of Game 1’s first seven points, prompting an Aspen timeout. They then took advantage of four consecutive Skiers miscues – a kill that sailed long, two errant digs and a net violation – to jump ahead, 10-2. Aspen (0-18, 0-15) rallied, pulling to within two at 15-13 after a kill from Lindsey Anderson. The Skiers faltered from there, however, hitting a serve into the net and letting a ball drop between three players on consecutive plays. Similar mistakes cost them any chance of a comeback down the stretch.In Game 2, Basalt blew open a 10-6 game by reeling off 12 consecutive points. During the run, Jade Johnson, Ashley Soucie and Emily Morley picked up kills. After a string of miscues, Soucie converted a kill to give the Longhorns a 24-12 advantage. They had to sweat things out for a few more minutes, however, as Aspen spoiled eight consecutive game points. Soucie finally closed out things with a block to give the Longhorns a two-game cushion.”We knew we could come in here and play well,” Skiers head coach Clay Dahlman said. “It’s been tough to keep the spirits up after such a tough season … but the girls have a lot of fight in them.”Aspen proved that in a third game in which the two teams exchanged the lead 12 times. After Basalt scored three straight points to square the game at 23, Anderson picked up the biggest of her team-high 10 kills, then Allie Kerr dropped a ball over the Longhorns’ front line to seal the win.”We talked a lot with the girls about momentum,” Dahlman said. “We had moments of real glory and fight. … It wasn’t quite enough.”The Skiers pulled to within 13-11 in Game 4 after a net violation, but Soucie answered with two blocks, sparking a 12-2 run to close out the match. Booth picked up two kills during the stretch, and teammate Erin Erickson added a block and a kill.”It always feels good [to beat Aspen],” Booth said. “It’s definitely been a tough season … but I’m having fun, and I’m glad we could end like this. It’s what we came for.”The Longhorns close out the season with a home game against Cedaredge at 5:30 p.m. Friday, then a trip to Hotchkiss on Saturday afternoon. The Skiers finish at 5:30 p.m. Friday at league-leading Roaring

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