Improvement encouraging for AHS volleyball team |

Improvement encouraging for AHS volleyball team

Steve Benson

Despite standing taller than most of their opponents, the girls of Aspen High’s volleyball team struggled in a preseason tournament at AHS Saturday.The Skiers were shutout by Hayden and Vail Mountain, by a score of 3 games to none, but they beat Cedaredge 3-1.Head coach Matt Bergdahl said although his girls are tall and athletic, they lack the experience that other schools, like Vail Mountain, possess. Several programs in the state compete year-round, while Aspen’s girls usually bounce from sport to sport as the seasons change.”They’re athletes that play a lot of sports,” Bergdahl said. “We just can’t get all the girls together.”Junior Elise Fornell is a competitive swimmer, and sophomore Megan Raczak is an accomplished gymnast.

On Saturday, Aspen was missing three seniors and the entire team will be off this week as Aspen’s Experiential Education program commences.Bergdahl played a number of different combinations Saturday, including one set with six sophomores.”This is the first time I’ve seen them play competitively,” Bergdahl said. “They’re learning fast, there’s been a lot of improvement. It’s real encouraging.”Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the season will be finding a way to get the young talent on the court.”The difficult part of this year is I’ve got a group of young players pushing the older girls really hard,” Bergdahl said.

Besides Raczak, there are five other sophomores that can compete at the varsity level.But the coach said he’s fortunate to have a team that is willing to share the spotlight and support one another.”They’re a good team, nobody’s the center of attention,” he said. “They n see AHSreally encourage each other a lot.”Notes

All matches this season will feature rally scoring, meaning every serve leads to a point, as opposed to traditional side-out scoring. Eagle Valley has moved up to the larger, Class 4A from Class 3A, leaving only seven volleyball teams in the Class 3A Western Slope League. And that means Aspen must finish in the top four in the 3A WSL to advance to the regional tournament at the end of the season.The Skiers resume their season Sept. 18 at Hotchkiss.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is