Monday, August 10, 2020

Titans volleyball drops first match of season

Service errors spell demise

by Than Acuff

Intensity has been the focus of the Crested Butte Titans volleyball team all pre-season and on Saturday, while their intensity was on display, errors eventually led to their demise as the Titans fell to the South Park Burros in straight sets.

The Titans were on a mission leading up to the match after the Burros handed Crested Butte a tough five-set loss at the end of last season. With the taste of that bitter loss still in their mouths, the Titans were determined to exact revenge.

Coach Heather Perry admits that she and her team headed into the match a bit uncertain. She shifted the team’s focus in practices leading up to the match, but with South Park being their first test of the season, there was no way to know what would happen.

“I was really focused on team systems stuff all week, but we didn’t get any pre-season scrimmages or tournaments so I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” says Perry.

Unfortunately, South Park had plenty of match experience under their belt prior to the match, and in the end, that made all of the difference.

The Titans relied on grit to remain within striking distance in the first set, eventually falling 25-21. The second set proved to be an improvement upon the first as they exchanged points with South Park all set long only to lose 26-24, and while the third set provided an opportunity for the Titans to swing the momentum, they fell short, losing 25-21.

“Every game we had about five service errors and that cost us the match,” says Perry. “But that’s an easy solution to fix.”

Sophomore Nicki Rehberg joined the Titans this season and has stepped into the librero role and provided key moments throughout the match to keep the Titans close.

“She was a digging machine,” says Perry.

Senior middles Maddie Mollison and Isabel Young showed signs as two members of a formidable front line, as Young had five solo blocks and six assists while Mollison recorded seven solo blocks and five assists.

“They both had a good day blocking and with some kills,” says Perry.

While serving was shaky all game long, senior Annie Duryea proved consistent with an 86 percent service success rate through all three sets.

Overall, Perry felt the team executed fairly well, and once they can minimize service errors, she feels they will be competitive with everyone in the league.

“I was not unhappy with how we played, even though we didn’t win,” says Perry. “I really think our kids are equally paired up with the teams in our league.”

The Titans will continue to get their match legs under them this week with three matches over three days. They head to Sierra Grande on Thursday, September 8 and return to the road on Saturday, September 10 to play Del Norte and Sanford. In preparation, Perry will address the current issues and look to add another threat to her team’s attack.

“My focus is to reduce service errors and increase kill ratio,” says Perry. “Hitting isn’t second nature to our players so we typically don’t have big hitters. I want to make big hitters out of our good athletes.”

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