Thursday, April 2, 2020

Titans volleyball falls to Del Norte and Sanford

“We’re working on being more offensive and less defensive”

by Than Acuff

While the Crested Butte Titans volleyball team is back to full strength, there’s still plenty of work to do to get back into the rhythm of their game and they struggled last week as they fell to both the Del Norte Tigers and the Sanford Indians.

They opened the two-day, two-match stretch on Tuesday, September 24 against Del Norte at home as part of Homecoming week. With a large student section there in support, the Titans came out in the first set determined to take down one of the top teams in their league. After a slow start, the Titans climbed back into the set as big kills from Sami Lakoski and Sylvie Newman tied it up 12-12.

The two teams battled back and forth, with the Titans serving consistently and Savannah Freeman dropping a savvy kill to remain within two points of the Tigers. Del Norte then got hot at the net as they rattled off five straight points but Crested Butte remained in the hunt down 22-18 until a big block by Del Norte helped propel them to a 25-19 win in the first set.

“I thought we were playing really well,” says coach Erin Goggins.

Things took a turn on Crested Butte in the second set. After capitalizing on mistakes by Del Norte to open the set and a block by Sophia Kubisak and a long rally capped by a kill from Lakoski had the Titans down just 11-8, Del Norte started picking the corners with pinpoint serving and their hitters caught fire to take the second set 25-12.

“That second game just got away from us,” says Goggins.

Crested Butte shook off the second set loss to take over the start of the third set. Consistent serving and better footwork from the Titans had them take a 3-0 lead. They carried their three-point lead through the first half of the set and were up 17-15, paced by kills from Freeman and Georgia Lange.

Del Norte called a time-out to make adjustments and the break seemed to take the wind out of the Titans’ sails as Del Norte outscored Crested Butte 10-3 down the stretch to take the third set and the match. Madison Pankey recorded four digs, Lange had three digs and two kills, Lakoski led the team with eight kills and Freeman tacked on four kills, while Audrey Griffin tallied 22 assists and four blocks.

“We played well, we just couldn’t get on top and keep our serve,” says Goggins. “They knew they played well and knew they could play better. I was proud of them.”

The Titans then hit the road the next day to face Sanford and struggled, falling 5-25, 9-25 and 10-25.

“That one wasn’t pretty,” says Goggins. “I’d like to blame it on back-to-back matches and a three-hour bus ride, but we just didn’t play well.”

Crested Butte has this week to continue working at full strength as they prepare for two home matches this weekend. They host Custer County on Friday, October 4 with matches starting at 4 p.m. and then stay at home on Saturday, October 5 to host Telluride starting at 11 a.m.

“Now that we have everyone back we’re working on getting our hitters where they’re supposed to be,” says Goggins. “We’re working on being more offensive and less defensive.”

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