Basalt volleyball sweeps Rifle on senior night to reach double-digit wins
Not long ago, the Basalt High School volleyball team wouldn’t have had the moxie to rally from behind for the set victory like it did Tuesday against visiting Rifle. But with seven seniors playing at home for the final time, the Longhorns made it happen.
“They just sucked it up and did it,” Basalt co-coach David Chadbourne said. “I was really proud. In the days of old, this team wouldn’t have been able to do that. They wouldn’t have had the confidence to be able to come back when they were down like that and pull out a win.”
The end result was a 3-0 sweep of the Bears on senior night, although the Longhorns made it more of a nail-biter than necessary. Basalt rolled to 25-17 and 25-16 set victories following an extended pre-game recognition of the seniors before falling behind in the third set.
“It was definitely stressful,” BHS senior Alyssa Maniscalchi said, “especially it being our last night all playing together. So we just wanted to finish on three.”
Basalt trailed 18-14 and again at 24-21 in the third set, its sweep in limbo. But four straight points gave the Longhorns a 25-24 edge and they ended up holding on for the 27-25 set victory and match win.
BHS also swept the Bears on Sept. 16 in Rifle by set scores of 25-23, 25-20 and 25-16.
“They were able to persevere and fight through those jitters and finish the game,” Chadbourne said. “This particular group, they’ve been kind of expecting this. In fact, they’ve wanted more wins than they’ve actually achieved this year. So they are go-getters and they’ve been working hard to get those numbers.”
Basalt improved to 10-9 overall with the win. It is the first time BHS has made it to double digits in the win column since going 13-9 in 2008, which is also the last time it finished the season above .500. This senior class, many of whom have also played club together since middle school, only witnessed six combined varsity wins their first three years in high school, and five came in the 2016 season.
“It’s super empowering,” BHS senior co-captain Kaylin Williams said of the relative success this season. “We started off as freshmen with a total losing season. It might have been negative losses. I think it’s super awesome that we’ve grown.”
Basalt still has a Saturday tournament hosted by Bennett High School to go. While BHS is a long shot to make a regional tournament after this weekend based on RPI, the tournament does feature a tough field which could boost its ranking should it pull off a couple of upsets.
The only familiar face in the field is Gunnison, which beat the Longhorns 3-1 on Sept. 9 in Basalt.
“We are going to face some tough competition down there,” Chadbourne said. “When they face some tougher competition, that is typically when they really step up. So anything can happen this weekend. That’s the way we are going into it.”
Rifle fell to 4-18 overall with Tuesday’s loss.
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Strange is a word that will likely define the winter high school sports season. But, after numerous delays and endless doubts, that season is finally here. It will include fewer games, more masks and a lot of empty seats, but adapting to that strangeness is better than the alternative.