Tournament run ends for AHS volleyball team
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Aspen High School volleyball team’s bid for a state championship was cut short after a disappointing showing at the regional tournament over the weekend.
“We faced a really tough regional,” AHS coach Emily Bakker said Sunday. “All the coaches kind of agreed that the two teams from our regional would dominate the state tournament.”
One such dominator was a surprise: the virtually unknown Roosevelt High of Johnstown, Colo., now a top seed for the Class 3A state tournament. Roosevelt also delivered Aspen’s first defeat of the regional tournament, routing the Skiers 6-15 and 5-15 in straight sets.
“It was a well-played game ? our passing and serving was hot. We just struggled with our offense,” Bakker said.
Two dominant middle hitters shut down the Skier attack, the coach said.
Top AHS stats for the game included senior Dana Fleischer with five kills, Jackie Samborski with four digs, and Katy Cadger with 12 assists.
Aspen’s second opponent of the tourney was a familiar one ? Middle Park, another veteran of the 2001 state tournament. Middle Park, the No. 1 seed of the regional tournament, proved to be a bit stronger than last year, Bakker said.
“They had a pretty big point spread [in the first game] and we started to rally back and got them a little nervous,” she said. “We were right with them from the start, but they had a stronger offense.”
Middle Park won both games, 12-15 and 6-15. Senior Lizzie Suiter recorded eight kills and four blocks, while Lindsay Patterson had five digs and two aces.
AHS put up a fight in their final match of the day against Valley (Gilcrest) High.
“We had the advantage in both games,” Bakker said. However, the Valley Vikings won two games in straight sets, both 14-16.
Cadger racked up 15 assists, Suiter had eight kills and four blocks, and Patterson had five digs and two aces.
Bakker said she saw a more aggressive Skier squad at the previous weekend’s district tournament. However, AHS finished the season with a 16-11 season ? one Bakker said she’s proud of.
“I think our spirit of winning was definitely more evident at the district tournament,” she said. “But the girls have a lot to be proud of. We struggled with some early losses that were just unacceptable to our program, but we climbed the ladder, worked hard and got to the top.
“I think the majority of them feel good about the year,” she said. “When they think about it, of course they all want to be at state. But only one state team feels good about every single match that they played, and that’s the state champion ? that’s what I told the girls.”
Roosevelt and Middle Park will advance to the state tournament in Denver on Nov. 8. Eight teams ? the top two selected from four regional tournaments played over the weekend ? will vie for a state title.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.