Olathe upsets Basalt spikers at districts
GRAND JUNCTION Basalt’s spikers road back to the 3A state tournament took a detour Saturday at the district tournament in Grand Junction.After sweeping three straight teams to win their pool Friday, the Longhorns stumbled Saturday afternoon in their first elimination match, losing to Olathe in four games (24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 13-25).The loss means the Longhorns – the 3A Western Slope champions who lost only one match during the regular season – will be on the road for regionals, not at home as expected. The Longhorns’ league title guaranteed a spot at regionals, regardless of how they fared in Grand Junction.”The girls have the mentality right now that it’s back to the drawing board,” said first-year Longhorns coach Clay Dahlman, whose team won both of its regular season matches against Olathe. “We’ve got some things to work on this week, and hopefully we go to regionals and play the best volleyball we can.”The Longhorns were caught off guard by Olathe in the first game, going down by six before gradually climbing back to tie the game at 24. The Pirates finished with a flourish, however, securing the final two points to put the Longhorns in a 1-0 hole.The second game wasn’t as close. Olathe played inspired defense, Dahlman said, and neutralized Basalt’s quick-strike offense to earn a 25-19 win.”After that game I realized we weren’t playing our best defense and we weren’t firing out fast on offense,” Dahlman said. “They were digging everything. We made some blocking adjustments that picked our game up and gave us better coverage on the court.”The result was a 25-16 Basalt win in the third game that staved off a three-game sweep. The Longhorns couldn’t regroup from a five-point Olathe run in the fourth game, however, and fell, 25-13.Basalt seniors Dayne Toney, Kat Fitzpatrick and Alia Munger took their ACTS on Saturday morning, and didn’t arrive to the gym until 45 minutes before the match. While Dahlman said he didn’t want to make excuses, a full morning of testing Saturday after three matches Friday helped explain an atypical effort on the court.”Offensively, it was our biggest letdown of the season,” Dahlman said. “On defense, we weren’t able to pick up several off-speed shots.”There is no sense of panic among the team, Dahlman said.On Friday, Basalt was its usual dominant self, sweeping Cedaredge (25-9, 25-14, 25-15), Hotchkiss (25-18, 25-15, 25-18), and Gunnison (25-16, 25-18, 25-18).Gunnison was the other team to advance out of Basalt’s pool and played Coal Ridge – the only team to beat Basalt during the regular season – in its first elimination match. Results from that match and Saturday’s final weren’t available at press time.Wherever the Longhorns have to play, Dahlman said they’ll be ready.”The girls have proved to me they can go on the road and beat tough teams,” he said. “We had a huge road trip against Gunnison and Olathe during the regular season, and we also swept five tough teams at the Machebeuf tournament earlier in the season. It wasn’t a total team effort there today, but when we play unified volleyball, we’re tough to beat.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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