Volleyball: Rifle blanks Basalt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – Miscommunication led to the ball drilling the hardwood mere feet from at least three Basalt volleyball players Thursday night, prompting one teammate to yell and others to shake their heads.
Two nights after a dramatic, invigorating victory in Aspen, frustration abounded for the Longhorns at home. Basalt’s string of miscues helped Rifle pull away in Game 1, then the Bears hit their stride. They dominated at the net and withstood a spirited Basalt rally in Game 3 en route to a convincing 25-17, 25-14, 25-23 victory.
“My girls are doing great right now,” Rifle head coach Erin Reider said. “We’ve had some matches so far this season where we’ve been down and came back and when we’ve been up, let the other team come back and pulled it off. … These girls are really levelheaded emotionally. They don’t get too high or too low and work through things together.”
The two squads shared the lead 10 times in a tight first game, but the Longhorns (2-5) unraveled down the stretch. A Basalt shot clipped the net, sparking a 7-0 Bears run that gave the visitors a 20-14 cushion.
Kimmie Rausin finished off a Rifle win by drilling a shot through the outstretched arms of two Longhorns.
Annie Schmidt and Jordan Cody teamed up for a block, then Abby Orgill and Rausin flustered the Basalt defense with a host of well-placed kills in Game 2 for the Bears (4-4), who jumped out to a 12-5 lead. They would trail by no fewer than five the rest of the way, thanks in large part to multiple errant Longhorns serves.
Basalt, perhaps spurred on by a spirited student section, kept it close in Game 3. It trailed 12-9 and 16-11 but battled back to square things at 20. The Longhorns then took the lead when a Rifle dig bounded into the bleachers.
After exchanging points for a stretch, the Bears finished off a long rally with a crossing shot that landed just inside the back line, tying the game at 23. Orgill followed with a kill, then Rausin called for the ball as she moved toward the net on the outside.
She got her wish and made it count, pounding the ball past a diving defender to seal the win – Rifle’s third in its last four matches.
“We’ve definitely got some size this year,” Reider said. “We’re working on actually finishing more plays and getting some more kills, but they’ve been great at the net.”
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When mountain culture enthusiasts and athletes descend on Vail for the 20th annual Mountain Games from June 7-12, they will carry on a tradition that dates back to the 1970s in Eagle County and was once deemed illegal.