Skiers spikers ‘cruise’ against visiting Bruins |

Skiers spikers ‘cruise’ against visiting Bruins

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” Aspen head volleyball coach likened his team’s match with visiting Cedaredge on Friday night to being on cruise control.

While the Skiers’ best volleyball of the season wasn’t on display, they still managed to work some new rotations and young players into the fold and, most important, pull out a three-game sweep (25-15, 25-23, 25-11) over the Bruins.

“We kind of rolled through it tonight, and I wasn’t that impressed,” Dahlman said candidly. “I really had the girls focused this week on tomorrow’s match with Gunnison. I’m happy we pulled out this win.”

The Skiers (8-3 overall, 5-3 3A Western Slope) welcome Gunnison, which was undefeated in conference play heading into Friday’s match with Roaring Fork (results were not available), to the Aspen High School gym Saturday at noon. In Friday’s homecoming tune-up, they jumped ahead early, survived a lull in the middle game, then capped the match in convincing fashion.

After sharing the lead five times early in the first game, Aspen took advantage of three unforced Bruins errors, a kill from senior Katie Evans and an ace from senior Rio Crandall to take a 12-9 lead. Elissa Walter killed two consecutive sets from Kylie Westerlind to help fuel the Skiers’ 12-4 run to close out the game. Cedaredge sealed the Aspen win with four consecutive errors at the net.

Dahlman worked in some new lineup rotations during a second game, but the Skiers still squeked out a win. Sophomore Shannon Peirce was inserted into the lineup and had three blocks in the game.

“We’d tried to mix some things up, and that really made things a littler tighter,” Dahlman said. “We got back to our regular lineup for the third game.”

That regular lineup, buoyed by strong serving from Evans, jumped out to a commanding 9-0 lead. Evans attempted 18 serves in the game, nearly double that of any other teammate, Dahlman said.

Crandall converted eight digs, Walter had nine kills and sure-handed setter Westerlind repeatedly caught the Bruins off balance with 10 dumps.

“We recognized pretty quickly that there was a good hole in the middle and I talked with Kylie about utilizing that a bunch,” Dahlman said. “When we have teams where we see we can take advantage, you see her kills range from two to 10. She picked them apart and did a great job setting up the offense.”

The Skiers will need contributions from its entire roster if they are to pull off an upset today. The Cowboys swept Aspen on Sept. 13.

“We dominated in the first parts of those games, but we had a little slip up in the middle. We have to work on maintaining our intensity throughout,” Dahlman said. “I’m expecting a really fabulous match, especially if our girls show up and with home-court advantage.

“We’re geared up to hand them their first loss.”

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