Team just misses spot in post-season
by Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans volleyball team surged in the final weeks of the season, rattling off three wins in a row looking to secure a spot in the post-season. Unfortunately, their effort fell short of their goal and the season ended abruptly as they missed a spot in the regional tournament.
The October break wreaked havoc on the Titans’ schedule three weeks ago as they were forced to forfeit two matches over the break and then jumped back into the competitive fray two days after the break when they took on the Sargent Farmers. Still reeling from the break, the Titans dropped the match to Sargent but once they were back on their feet, they proceeded to win their next two matches over Dolores Huerta and South Park to improve to 10-10.
“Once we got our feet underneath us and some wins under our belt, we had a positive outlook on what could occur in the playoffs,” says coach Morgan McNallie.
The top 36 teams make the post-season and when the seedings came out, the Titans were hovering around the 35th to 36th spot with one last weekend to go, but the Titans had no match to play. Then, Crested Butte athletics director Jarrod Hinton caught wind of one last opportunity for the Titans to make up one of the two forfeited games and the Titans were granted an extra match against Jefferson on Saturday, October 27.
“We were right there and we thought playing another game and getting a win would be a positive,” says McNallie.
The decision had the Titans back on track to make the most of the opportunity and the team was looking to punch its ticket to the post-season on the final day of the regular season.
“The energy was very positive and everybody was really excited to play another game,” says McNallie.
Crested Butte opened the match against Jefferson on fire, as they carried their positive energy into the first set to roll to a 25-12 win paced by a nine-point serving run from Sophia Hall. They slowed down a bit in the second set but when it came down to it, they recovered to win 25-21 and take the match.
“We were having fun, playing well on offense and defense,” says McNallie. “We played a really great game. I don’t think it could have ended more positively.”
Furthermore, the Titans figured a win could do nothing but secure their spot at regionals, only to learn that evening that they ended up dropping in the standings and would not go on to the post-season.
“I was very surprised and the team was bummed,” says McNallie. “We had a positive outlook on what could occur in the playoffs and we were really looking forward to what we could bring to the table. It was a very quick end to the season.”
The team finished the year 11-10, the first winning record since 2013, and McNallie is happy with how the season went, except for the final decision.
“We had a really fun season,” says McNallie. “They’ve exceeded expectations and there was a lot of positive growth as players and as individuals and that growth has been really awesome to be a part of.”
Now their sights are set on the off-season and while some of them move on to other sports, there is talk of a more vibrant off-season schedule for the team.
“Everyone is interested and know they can improve,” says McNallie. “If we can do some training and get some court time in the off-season, it would be really good for the program.”