Play at home Friday, September 9
Last Saturday, the Titan varsity volleyball team punched their ticket from the pre-season to the regular season with a five-match day at the Cripple-Creek Victor Pioneer Invitational. The tournament represents approximately 25 percent of the regular season matches.
All matches in the tourney were best of three with first two scoring to 25 and set three played to 15 (must win by two). The Titans started the morning matched up against the Spartans of Southern Colorado Early College. Junior setter Cassidy Dodds started the Titans off with a five-point run, helping the Titans to shake off the first match of the season jitters.
Senior and co-captain Toni Brown served the Titans to a 15-6 lead with a seven-point run. The Titans posted a 25-13 win in the first set of the season. The Titans continued to work on their intensity in the next set. Sophomore Lindsey Kopf served the first six points of the second set to keep the Spartans from thinking the Titans were going to relax. The Titans took the second set 25-13 posting their first win of the season. Senior co-captain Skylar Kraatz led the team with three kills.
The second match pitted the Titans against the South Park Burros. The Burros played a quicker tempo than the Spartans and the Titans struggled with the new pace. While the Titans battled they dropped the first set 18-25. Kraatz and junior Sara Sherman made some key blocks and produced a number of block touches that allowed the defense to pick up many of the Burro hits. With several solid rallies it was finally one Burro who broke the Titans serving a long run of points the team could not over come. The Titans dropped the match in straight sets with a final score 13-25.
Vanguard Charter Coursers were eager to provide the next challenge while the Titans needed to refocus after the loss. The Coursers and Titans battled back and forth for most of the first set with the score 13-16. Brown stepped back to serve producing six points putting Vanguard on their heels. Lindsay Kopf served the final two points to finish taking the first set 25-20. Vanguard started off strong in the second set as the Titans worked in new setter senior Emily Talbot. Vanguard started off with lead but the Titans kept battling back. With the Titans lead at 24-22, Vanguard put together three big plays to take the lead back at 25-24. A missed serve by Vanguard opened the door for Crested Butte and Sherman finished off the Coursers with a powerful ace serve, giving the Titans a come from behind victory, 27-25.
The Peyton Panthers lay in wait next for the Titans. The Panthers defensive tenacity proved difficult for the Titans to match but even after a sluggish start the Titans won the first set 25-19. The second set produced long rallies with almost every play. Titans lost a close second set 24-26. The third set found the Titans and Panthers traded off long rallies and exchanged points back and forth for most of the set. The Titans struggled with serving more in this match than previously that day and with the score 11-11 let the Panthers pounce on a couple of Titan errors and secure the Peyton victory.
The Demons of Buena Vista were the final match of the day and once again it would prove important to both forget the Peyton loss and end the day on a positive note. Buena Vista proved to be another scrappy team that picked up anything the Titans hit at them. In this match the Titans were not rattled by the long rallies and stayed focused. Kopf served seven points in the first match and senior Klara Wohlers contributed another five points to the effort to win the first set 25-22. The Titans jumped out to the lead in the second set and held off the Demons with strong serving by sophomore Ali McGuire who served an ace on point 23 and Sherman serving the final point of the match with another ace. The Titans took the second set and 25-17. After a long day, the Titans chalked up three wins and two losses at their first visit to the Pioneer Invitational. Brown and Dodds received All-Tournament honors for the Titans.
This weekend begins with the first home match of the season against Stanford with JV starting and 3 p.m. and varsity to follow. Saturday, the Titans travel back to Cripple Creek for a rematch against South Park and the Cripple Creek Pioneers.