Roaring Fork sweeps Aspen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Aspen showed some promise – what head coach Clay Dahlman refers to as “moments of brilliance” – during Thursday’s match with visiting Roaring Fork.
Unfortunately for the Skiers, their strong play came too late to impact the outcome. The unbeaten 3A Western Slope leaders from Carbondale outscored the home team, 50-23, in two lopsided games, then overcame some struggles in Game 3 with a late flurry to pull out a 25-11, 25-12, 25-19 win in a match that lasted little more than an hour.
“Our game plan was to make sure we really came out and started strong,” Roaring Fork’s Landon Garvik said. “We were in rhythm right away. … It was an awesome feeling. It was the first time I really felt that.”
Garvik, the reigning Slope player of year, and a methodical Rams side dominated play in the early going. The senior finished off a kill after a perfect feed from Joey Clingan to score the match’s first point and spark an 11-2, Game 1 run.
Later, Garvik converted three consecutive kills – sending multiple Aspen defenders lunging and swinging to no avail – to push the advantage to 22-9.
“Her and Joey really communicated well in the middle tonight,” Rams head coach Carrie Shultz said.
“We look forward to Landon moving on to college,” Dahlman joked. “She’s not just tough, she’s great. One really dominant player on a team can lead to a lot of success … but she couldn’t look as good as she does without [the other players].
“Roaring Fork is one solid and balanced Western Slope team.”
Garvik drew applause from both sides of the bleachers early in Game 2 after drilling a shot up the middle of the Skiers’ defense, helping her team jump out to an 8-2 lead.
“Incoming!” one fan yelled.
While Aspen knew what was coming, it appeared powerless to stop it.
Garvik produced four kills in a five-point stretch to give the Rams a commanding 22-10, Game 2 cushion. Teammate Megan Gianinetti closed out the game with another kill from the front line.
“I think the girls will be let down by this,” Dahlman said. “If you asked them if they fought hard on every point, probably, to a player, they’d say they weren’t satisfied.”
With it starters still on the court, Roaring Fork (13-0) tried some new formations in the deciding game. The shuffling produced mixed results, as the Skiers jumped out to a 7-1 lead.
The Rams battled back to square the game at nine, then Garvik soared and converted another powerful kill.
“Turn out the lights,” a Roaring Fork fan yelled.
Not quite. The two sides shared the lead eight more times before the Rams pulled ahead for good at 20-19 after a kill from Clingan.
Roaring Fork closed out the game with six straight points, the last three coming on two kills and a block from Garvik.
The senior is hoping for a similar effort today, when the Rams visit Olathe for a match that will likely decide the Slope crown. The Pirates’ lone league loss came in Sept 11’s five setter in Carbondale.
Roaring Fork has dropped just three games in 13 matches this season.
“Hopefully, we can take that rhythm we had tonight and roll with it tomorrow,” Garvik said.
Added Shultz: “[The main key] is the way we come out mentally to play. We have the physical ability and we’re prepared for it. We’re in a really good place.”
Bailey Everhart finished with six kills and Madison Murdoch had eight assists for the Skiers, who fell to 3-10. Aspen visits rival Basalt at 6 p.m. Friday.
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The state track and field championship meet got underway Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, with Basalt High School coming away with a couple of podiums.