“Every player contributed something to the matches this weekend”
The Lady Titans volleyball team picked up where they left off the previous weekend, making it through the opening round for the first time in several years in the District tournament before being eliminated by the Vail Christian Saints, ranked fourth in the state.
After dropping three straight games to the strong Dove Creek Bulldogs on Friday, October 26 – a team that will go on to Regionals as the district’s first seed – the Titans came out fighting against the Norwood Mavericks.
The Mavericks were blindsided by the Titans’ resolve, knowing them only as the team they saw in Crested Butte a few weeks ago missing four starters.
“We played a strong Dove Creek really tough, and after suffering a tough loss, our team showed the mental toughness to come back to defeat a very quick, very talented Norwood team. We finally played as a team, with every player on the court stepping up her game and every player on the bench contributing positive energy,” commented Coach Marla Covey after the game.
Crested Butte took the Norwood match in straight games, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21.
Over the weekend, co-captains Kaitlin Councilman and Emma Coburn both demonstrated the intensity Covey has come to expect of them, with Coburn putting down 22 kills and six blocks during Friday’s two matches and Councilman tallying 44 assists, nine kills, seven blocks, countless astonishing saves, and missing only one serve over three matches.
“Emma and Kaitlin set the level of play, and their teammates met the challenge with determination and intensity,” said Covey. “The Councilman/Coburn combination was just beautiful to watch all day. This weekend, I realized as coaches and as fans we have just come to expect that Emma and Kaitlin will make extraordinary plays look easy. Making the difficult look easy is the highest compliment to any athlete in any sport.”
Junior Mackenzie Mailly, too, brought her A-game. “With her quiet determination, Mackenzie’s movement on the court is sometimes surprising,” commented Covey. “She’ll come out of nowhere to pass up a tough serve or hit and on the next play she’ll show up again.”
With Coburn running in the state cross-country meet on Saturday, Mailly moved effortlessly to the left-side hitting position and hammered away at the Vail Christian defense as Councilman fed one of her most consistent hitters again and again.
Not to be overshadowed, sophomores Sydney Loyed and Hillari Spencer both had outstanding weekends. Loyed’s defense was top-notch, and she hit the floor time after time against the weekend’s heavy hitters. Spencer filled Mailly’s spot on the right side in Saturday’s Vail Christian match-up, nailing two blocks right off the hop and picking up numerous touches against the big left-side hitters.
“Every player contributed something to the matches this weekend,” said Covey. “Junior Katie Vandervoort played some her best defense of the season and served strongly, junior Chelsea Dill had a run of nine serves in the Norwood match, and on Saturday, sophomore Kelsey Beltz pulled on the blue libero jersey for the first time ever and provided the defensive boost we needed when we were struggling to find a rhythm.”
Graduating only two players this year, the Lady Titans should prove to be a force to contend with next season. “We will definitely miss our senior captain Emma Coburn and senior Olivia Massey, but we have a solid core of very talented, experienced players,” Covey said. “ In addition, we have some players waiting in the wings, including 5’11” Academy stand-out Julia Patterson, Jessie Frame, and sophomore Kelsey Beltz. Plus we have some talented sophomores and freshmen who worked hard all season to improve their skills.”
Covey said the freshman class is also looking strong, having won the Mountain League middle school tournament two weeks ago. “But our players need to remember that even though they have tremendous potential, nothing is ever handed to any team,” she said. “They have to put in effort in the off-season at open gym and at camps to continue to improve. With effort and determination to continue to improve, next year’s team has the talent to be very successful.”