Rams rally back, beat Aspen in five games
The Roaring Fork volleyball team was hoping to take care of visiting Aspen early Friday. A number of Rams players were participating in homecoming ceremonies during half-time of Friday’s football game, so the sooner the match got over, the earlier the Rams could get into the locker room to change.The players on the Aspen volleyball team weren’t focused on anything other than upsetting the Rams on their home court. And, after winning the first two games by scores of 25-18 and 25-21, it looked like the Skiers might give Rams the short match that they wanted – just not the desired result.The Rams got rolling in the third frame, however, winning, 25-19. That pivotal win led to a tight 27-25 Rams victory in the fourth game to force the 15-point tiebreaker. In the final frame, Roaring Fork (10-4, 5-2) took advantage of a visibly rattled Aspen squad – reeling from squandering a two-game lead – to win the game, 15-11, and the match, 3-2.”I’m a bit surprised,” Roaring Fork coach Karen Crownhart said. “I didn’t expect that, but hey, they were a good team and they fought hard and they deserved to stick with us. Our offense is just always what gets us going. We finally got it going and that’s what turned the game around for us. We just started so slow and that’s been our plague so far this year.”The loss was a heartbreaker for Aspen (3-7, 0-4), which seemed on the verge of winning its first 3A Western Slope Game this season. Afterward, while Roaring Fork players scattered to the football game, the Skiers hung around in the bleachers. A number of players were in tears.”I think it’s all mental and our attitude and what our attitude is at the time,” Aspen junior Megan Raczak said. “If it’s a down attitude and we’re negative, then we make more mistakes. We’re trying to work on that.””They know what they need to do and they just didn’t quite make it,” added Skiers coach Sarah Benson. “They played an extremely good game. They played with everything they had and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”Aspen jumped on the Rams early in the first game by exploiting Rams serving and passing errors. In the second game, the Skiers cruised out to an 11-5 lead early. A string of unforced errors by the Skiers, however, opened the door for Roaring Fork. Behind the accurate serving of Kali Chestnut and Ashley Jammaron, Roaring Fork went on a 7-2 run to knot the game at 13. The game see-sawed from there, until the Skiers made a final push with the score tied at 20-20. Rams outside hitter Sarah Armstrong – the player who hurt the Skiers most Friday – hurt her own team’s cause with three consecutive errors. Armstrong was first whistled for palming to give Aspen its 21st point, then hit into the net, then long for the Skiers’ 22nd and 23rd points.Up 24-21, Aspen setter Robin Landis set up Raczak with a beautiful quick set, which Raczak then hammered home for the game-winning point.The third game was a Rams rout, keyed by the hitting of Armstrong, Chestnut and Erica Pelland. The fourth game was anything but lopsided. The score differential never deviated by more than two points leading all the way up a 25-25 tie. From there, Armstrong belted home a huge kill. At game-point, Aspen’s Haley Ortman hit long while trying to place a ball in the right corner of the Rams’ side of the court. Armstrong again was the difference in the final game, adding four more kills in the 15-11 win.Afer a slow start, Crownhart was pleased to see her star player bounce back and finish strong.”Before this, if she starts down, she’s stayed down,” Crownhart said. “I’m so proud of her this game. She started down and then came back. At the end of the match, if she hadn’t have come on, we wouldn’t have won the match.”Benson said, despite the loss, her young team proved something Friday.”I think they’re a really evenly matched team and that showed,” Benson said. “I think they did overlook us at first, then once they realized that we weren’t going to roll over, they picked their game up and gave us a really good match.” The Skiers next play today at home against Olathe at 3:30 pm.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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