Titans volleyball battles back over four-match stretch

Record improves to 7-5

By Than Acuff 

This time last year, the Crested Butte Titans volleyball team’s record was 3-9 including losses to Center and Telluride. This year the Titans are 7-5 right now including wins over both Telluride and Center over a four-game stretch this past week.

Crested Butte opened things off hosting the Center Vikings on Thursday, August 31 and rolled through the first set 25-12, but as the match progressed, the Vikings started to climb back in.

“Center doesn’t quit,” says coach Marla Covey. “They keep coming at you.”

The Vikings did put up a fight in the second set, but Crested Butte remained in the driver’s seat to win 25-20 as consistency on defense and passing set-up hitters Mia O’Neil and Mandala Covey-Bleiberg for numerous kills.

“We were keeping the ball in play and getting some good kills,” says Covey. “We tried to hit hard rather than just hitting it over.”

Things got a little touch and go in the third set. While the Titans did remain out front in the third set, a late surge by the Vikings put the third set in flux before the Titans clamped down to win the third set 25-22 and take the match.

“I think if it was last year, we would lose that third set,” says Covey. “We started to tighten up in the third, but they pushed through and won it. They all played together as a team that day.”

The Titans spent Saturday, September 2 at a tournament in Gunnison with matches against Olathe, Sargent and Telluride. Olathe always provides a tough non-league match for Crested Butte and were on pace to take the Titans down after winning the opening set 25-20 and taking a 6-0 lead in the second set. But the Titans fought back to eventually win the second set 26-24 and force a third and final set.

“They showed some grit there in that second set,” says Covey.

A quick run by Olathe in that final set eventually led to a 15-12 win as Olathe escaped with the match win.

“It could have gone either way,” says Covey.

Crested Butte then took the floor to face Sargent in their second match of the day. The hope was to build off the momentum from their effort against Olathe and avenge a loss to Sargent earlier this season, but those hopes were dashed as Sargent beat the Titans in straight sets 28-25 and 25-14.

“We came out flat and just sort of imploded,” says Covey.

But, as has been the theme all season, this is a different group from last year and it showed in their third and final match of the day when they took on Telluride.

After losing the first two matches of the day, Crested Butte recovered to beat Telluride in straight sets 25-20 finishing the recent four-game stretch on a high note.

“They showed some fortitude and came back,” says Covey. “I think they’re starting to believe in themselves.”

The Titans have two league matches on the road coming up as they face Sanford on Friday, September 8 and then head further east to face Trinidad on Saturday, September 9.

“Sanford will be interesting,” says Covey. “It would be nice to play like we did against Olathe and Telluride. If we play that kind of match, we could surprise them. It’ll be a tough weekend.”

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