“They definitely picked it up and turned it around”
by Than Acuff
While wins have been hard to come by for the Crested Butte Titans volleyball team, they continue to plug away at the season and proved that, no matter what their record, they are all in at every match.
The Titans displayed that commitment last Tuesday when they hit the road to face the Ridgway Demons in Ridgway and pulled out the win after five sets of intense battling ending a four-game slide.
All season long the Titans have opened matches in sync and on fire, rattling off numerous first-set wins, only to slowly fall apart as the match progresses.
“That first game we typically come in hard and aggressive,” says coach Erin Goggins. “Then either we win and lose something or we lose and lose some momentum. I think it’s just a mental thing.”
Goggins attributed that rhythm to a lack of aggression and a propensity to play defensively rather than go on the attack. She focused on getting the team a more offensive mindset during workouts as they prepared for their match against Ridgway as well as the final weeks of the season.
“We worked on it and they started to get more of a feel for it,” says Goggins.
With their starting libero missing due to a concussion, Goggins shifted Audrey Griffin to the spot. But the line-up missed Griffin as a setter so Goggins called on hitter Sydney Stoneberg to take on the libero duties against Ridgway and the team rolled to a win in the opening set.
But that mid-match let-down set in again for the Titans as they dropped the second and third set and were forced to play the rest of the match with their backs against the wall. Fortunately, rather than Goggins pointing out what was going wrong, the players came to the realization themselves.
“They knew that they weren’t being aggressive and realized what they needed to do,” says Goggins. “They definitely picked it up and turned it around.”
They recovered to win the fourth set forcing a fifth and final set and while the two teams traded off points for the opening serves in that fifth set, the Titans maintained an aggressive strategy to win the fifth set and the match.
“It was a great confidence boost and we’re definitely headed in the right direction,” says Goggins.
Only problem now is the October Break. After taking the win over Ridgway, the team headed into a 10-day break from matches. Goggins will have the team on the court for workouts over the week off as they prepare for three matches in five days to close out the regular season. As a result, the players and coaches are looking to rekindle that energy for the final week of matches and take some momentum into the district tournament.
“The last week is about getting our confidence back up and stepping up our aggressive play,” says Goggins. “The hope is to go into districts injury-free with a line-up that we’ve used more than one time.”
The Titans host Sargent on Tuesday, October 22, hit the road to place Dolores Huerta on Thursday, October 24 and then finish the regular season at home on Saturday, October 26 when they host South Park.