Season closes out with onset of April break
[ by Than Acuff ]
As is often the case in these COVID-shortened high school athletics seasons, teams are finishing up just as they appear to be clicking. Such is the case with the Crested Butte Titans volleyball team as they just racked up a win and a hard fought loss last week only to have the season end this week.
Things were looking good for the Titans way back in August as they prepared for what would have been their normal season. They had a new head coach in Cierra Abbott and they had been getting in some off-season open gym workouts to prepare for the season and hit the court for the first week of preseason.
Once the high school sports seasons were rescheduled though, volleyball was pushed back to spring and when they returned to workouts in March, they had to start all over, and fast.
Making matters worse, the Titans were hit with injuries leaving Abbott and her coaching staff to constantly mix up line-ups calling on players to step into new and unfamiliar roles at the drop of a hat.
The Titans did take a win over Ouray early in the season but once they entered league play against more seasoned and committed programs, they dropped several matches.
But last Tuesday, April 13, the Titans ended their losing streak to take down Trinidad 3-1.
The Titans won the first two sets but dropped the third set when Trinidad managed to catch the Titans in a bit of disarray.
“We came out in the third set slow and that just put us behind,” says Abbott.
Oftentimes, given the rally energy of volleyball matches, a dropped third set can lead to losing the fourth set and before teams know it, the match gets away from them.
The Titans recovered though stemming the Trinidad tide to win the fourth set and take the match for their second win of the season. Sami Lakoski and Ellie Duryea each racked up seven kills and four Titans tallied three aces each in the match.
“Overall we played pretty well,” says Abbott.
And while a win is great, that certainly wasn’t the highlight of the week, or the season, for the Titans.
Crested Butte played their best match of volleyball three days later when they faced Monte Vista on Friday, April 9. Monte Vista has just one loss all season and are on pace to do some damage in the post season. True, Crested Butte fell in straight sets to Monte Vista but there were numerous small victories in the loss.
“I would consider that game a huge success,” says Abbott.
After losing the first set 25-17, the Titans threatened in the second set before falling 26-24 and put together another solid effort in the third set before losing 25-22. Blakeley Reynolds and Duryea each recorded four kills and Duryea had four aces from the service line.
“We fought hard and played a high level of volleyball,” says Abbott. “We had long rallies which was great to see against a really high level team.”
Unfortunately, while it appears the Titans have turned the corner and are just starting to hit their stride, the season comes to a screeching halt with one match against Gunnison before April break takes most of the team out of town forcing Crested Butte to forfeit their final three matches.