Youth movement in the works
The Crested Butte Titans finished their regular season on Saturday, October 18 against the second-ranked Custer County Bobcats. Down to six players because of fall break and an injury, two junior varsity layers seized on the opportunity to play their first varsity matches. Sophomore Avery Pulley and freshman Sydney Peterson proved their skills, determination and commitment all year on the junior varsity team.
The Titans took the court with the altered line-up and, once a few of the normal jitters wore off, the Titans played a decent match against a solid Bobcat team. The Titans battled and improved every set with a line up that consisted of two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and one freshman but eventually dropped the match in three straight sets 15-25, 18-25 and 19-25. Sophomore Isabel Young led the team with seven kills, followed by sophomore Emilya Ramsey with three kills. Freshman Sydney Peterson as the defensive specialist and junior Madison Lambert both took charge taking the majority of the serve receives and 90 percent of the digs from the aggressive Bobcats.
The following Tuesday, the Titans hit the road for a District elimination match against the higher-seeded Del Norte Tigers. The Titans took the court with yet another new line-up because senior setter Brittany Barefield was home with the flu. And, while several players returned on Monday from October break with extended time off, the returning Titans could not find the needed game-level rhythm at Monday’s practice. So the younger Titan line up took to the court against a fired-up Tiger team.
The Titans battled and showed grit with some long rallies and some crazy “gets” in the match. Junior captain Erica Bremer stepped to take on playing middle all the way around rather than just her normal back-row duties. The left-handed Bremer produced two kills for the Titans while Emilya Ramsey contributed another two kills and Isabel Young led the team with four kills. Madison Lambert again took charge in serve receiving taking 18 serves receptions, followed by Bremer with seven. Senior setter Courtney Kopf had her best defensive match with three solid digs. In the end, missed serves plagued the Titans, serving only 75 percent on the night as the Titan volleyball seasoned ended in three straight sets, 18-25, 18-25 and 17-25.
The season ends with the graduation of six seniors, including three-year varsity setters Brittany Barefield and Courtney Kopf. Other seniors include two-year varsity player defensive specialist Kaitlyn Seifert and hitters Ariel Kilpatrick, Leila Nichols and Lindsay Johnson. Despite the significant loss of the seniors the future looks bright for the Titans. With some hard work in the off-season and over the summer, the young Titans could be a force next season.
Some young players who got a lot of varsity experience this season include sophomore hitters Isabel Young, Emilya Ramsey and Annie Duryea. Returning next year as seniors are Madison Lambert, Taylor Tyzzer and co-captain Erica Bremer, who already demonstrated their versatility and leadership skills this season as all-around players.
The JV team this season consisted of sophomores and freshman, who really started to gel as a team and demonstrated their hunger and passion for the game every day in practice. Just a few of the players who have the potential next season include sophomores Avery Pulley, Madison Mollison, Caroline Chandler, Sydney Bueller, Elsa Matyk, Abby Sandgren, and Rowan Pannier, and freshmen Sydney Peterson, Corinna Donovan, Malia Olson Catherine Washburn and Morgan Moss.
In all sports the hope of “next year” is important motivation. Even better than the players everyone expects to shine are the unexpected players who work hard in the off-season and show up in August surprising themselves and the coaches. The combination of all those types of players will hopefully light the spark for next season and provide motivation through the off-season for both players and coaches.