Lady Titans finish season as conference co-champions

Battle at Regional tournament
Last Saturday’s Regional volleyball tournament in Gunnison proved to be the year’s greatest challenge for the Lady Titans. Coming in as the fourth-seed underdog after spending the season as the team to beat, the Titans would have to play nearly flawless volleyball against Dove Creek, Mountain Valley, and North Park in order to advance to States.


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Facing the top-seed Dove Creek Bulldogs in their first match of the day, the Titans’ drive and determination couldn’t counterbalance their lack of height and strength, despite nine blocks and 21 kills. After defeating Crested Butte in straight games, 25-15, 25-15, 25-18, the Bulldogs would finish the day undefeated and qualify for the State tournament as the fourth seed out of eight.
After the first disappointing loss, the Titans headed straight back to the court to face their fellow Southern Peaks competitors, the Mountain Valley Indians. Crested Butte split their regular season matches against Mountain Valley, then suffered their only loss of the day against the Indians during the district tournament last Saturday.
The match proved to be a tough one, with two of the games pushing extra points to account for the requisite two-point win. After dropping the first game 25-27, the Titans came out with a higher level of intensity and took the second and third games, 25-10 and 26-24, then dropped the fourth 23-25 and took the match in the fifth game with a decisive 15-7 win.
The Titan players were all on their games, adding another eight blocks to their season stats; five of the six starting players went on four- to six-point service runs. Senior Chelsea Dill put down 15 kills and senior tri-captain Kaitlin Councilman tallied up another 34 assists.
Said coach Marla Covey, “We played up and down all day, but as a team we battled hard to defeat Mountain Valley. That secured us a chance to play one more match against North Park and the opportunity to qualify for the State tournament.”
But the Titans had run out of steam, and chronic back injuries plagued both senior tri-captain Mackenzie Mailly and junior Sydney Loyed. As the match against North Park progressed, Crested Butte’s determination steadily waned, and after a close 22-25 loss in the first game, the Titans went on to drop the second and third games 13-25 and 11-25.
“We started the match in a great position; we held our destiny in our own hands,” Covey said. ”But we couldn’t muster enough desire, or strength, or whatever it really took to beat a scrappy North Park team.”
The Titans finished off the season as Southern Peaks League co-champions with a 19-7 record, took 2nd place in districts, and qualified for the regional tournament for the first time since the fall of 2001.
Four Crested Butte players also made the Southern Peaks All-Conference Teams. Making first team were Councilman and Loyed, and second were Mailly and senior tri-captain Katie Vandervoort, the only Titan player to go 100-percent from the service line during the entire regional tournament.
Reflecting on the Titans’ winning season, Covey said, “While we lose four strong senior starters, we also have a strong group of athletes coming up who should continue the Titan volleyball tradition. To have a good season next year, the returning players and incoming freshman will need to work hard this summer, go to volleyball camps, and continue to improve their skills and knowledge.”

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