The Telluride High School girls' volleyball team did not have an easy time getting ahead of its opponent, the Ridgway Lady Demons, last Thursday night, but the home crowd saw the Lady Miners take their first win of the season, three games to one. And they won without one of their best players, junior Caitlin Bush, who was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder and will likely be out for at least two more weeks.
Ridgway scored the first two points on the match, but Telluride came right back to take a 3-2 lead on the serve of junior Tasha Daranyi. Neither team got a significant advantage over the other in the game until Ridgway built itself a 23-19 lead when Telluride sophomore Tarja Berry dove but couldn't save a ball delivered by Ridgway.
The Lady Miners then went on a surge to take the next five points from the Lady Demons, on sharp serves by junior Margarita DePagter.
After the match, Telluride head coach Fawnda Rogers praised DePagter's consistency at serving and said it's a good example to her teammates.
"She's serving smart," Rogers said. "We [coaches] tend to call the serves sometimes, and with Margarita, you don't need to do that. She looks at the holes and she tries to serve to the weak spot."
Ridgway won the next two points, but Telluride came back to win the game on Daranyi's serve, 27-25.
The Lady Miners won two more points on Daranyi's serve at the start of the second game, but Ridgway went on an 8-1 run to take a 9-3 advantage, despite efficient underarm hitting by Telluride senior Jordan Cruzzavala. Telluride crawled back gradually to tie the game at 14 and take the lead at 21-17, but Ridgway would not go away quietly. The Lady Demons scored the next five points and only lost one more point in the game, winning it, 25-22.
The next game was fairly even early on, but Telluride took the energy from a Ridgway missed serve at 4-4 to score three straight points and not give up the lead again in the game. The Lady Miners led by as many as eight points and took the game, 25-19, on a spike by senior Jasmine McDaniels.
In the fourth and final game of the match, DePagter took advantage of the opportunity to open the game on her serve, and Telluride won the first eight points of the game as a result. Ridgway came back with three points of their own, but almost all of the remaining points were Telluride's, and the Lady Miners took the game convincingly, 25-9.
After the game, sophomore Meghan Cain summed up the keys to Telluride's win.
"I think the basic thing is we got our serves over," she said. "We played a little rocky in the beginning, but we really pulled it together."
Telluride assistant coach James McCutcheon said both serving and passing were essential parts of the win, but serving was the key.
"We really kind of put the screws to them because they know, if they don't serve well, we're going to lose," McCutcheon said.
He added that the Lady Miners are a young team that needs to master the basics of the game in order to be more successful.
The Junior Varsity team also won Thursday, beating the JV Lady Demons in three games, in a best-of-three format.
Telluride faced a more experienced opponent on Friday, on the road against Dove Creek High School, and lost all three games, despite an exceptional performance from sophomore Nicole Goldworthy, who stepped in for Bush as libero, a defensive player who is allowed unlimited substitution. The JV team lost also, dropping two out of three games.
Telluride will hit the road today for a chance to avenge a Sept. 22 loss to Mancos High School and then have another opportunity to win in front of its home crowd on Friday, in its Homecoming Game, when it takes on Ouray High School at 4 p.m.