The Demons’ empty sideline bench depicted the empty spaces in the team’s roster; all of its seniors were on a school trip on Tuesday. Ultimately, they couldn’t find a way around the Miners in the absence of their upperclassmen leaders, with the Miners taking the Tuesday win in three decisive matches, 25-12, 25-14, and 25-18.
“We are excited that they had a win tonight against Ridgway,” said THS volleyball coach Fawnda Rogers on Tuesday, linking the team’s win to solid serving throughout the evening. Serving is one of the basic skills the coaching staff has been emphasizing this early season, along with other basic dimensions of the game.
“This is a very young team, and we do have to teach the younger girls almost all aspects of the game,” she said. “Because we are building from the ground up, we spend a lot of time on the basic skills and are unable to work into the more in-depth aspects of the game – like offensive systems and different defenses. This will come with time, but right now we are focusing on the basic fundamentals.”
Playing the fundamentals proved successful for the Miners Tuesday, as they dominated play against a short-sided Demon squad. Telluride easily climbed to the victory in the first match, thanks in part to exacting passing that set up big attackers like Emily Langley and Emy Ludwig for the kill. Between them, the two sophomores totaled 38 attacks and 11 kills on the three-match evening.
Match two brought some late-match animation on the Demons’ side, as sophomore Jenna Beamer and freshman Sophie Collier dished a handful of serves apiece that the Miners found difficult to handle. The damage had already been done early in the match, however, with the Demons managing to climb less than ten points before Telluride delivered the final, match-ending blow.
The Miners started out strong again in the third match, with sophomore Kulani Aplin dishing out two aces to build Telluride’s early lead. A Ridgway foot fault kept their momentum going, and then Telluride initiated a heated rally which was met with point-saving digs from the Demon’s Collier. Ridgway sophomore Candace Yengst then managed two smoking hits in a row that sent the Miners scrambling. Ludwig ultimately won the upper hand, however, with a kill that upset the Demons’ attempt to tie the score at 10.
The Demons’ mid-match march to reach a 10-all score proved to be the last opportunity Ridgway had to gain a foothold, as Aplin stepped back onto the serving line once again and proceeded to deliver a flurry of serves resulting in Demon attack errors. Aplin’s strong performance on the serving line gave the Miners their cushion back. She ended up leading the team with 30 serving attempts, 13 of them aces, and a total of 21 points scored for her team.
Despite Ridgway’s Yengst and Collier maintaining solid offensive pressure, the Demons ran out of time and lost to Telluride in the third match, 25-18.
Although the Miners were happy to post a win Tuesday night, Coach Rogers said the team has a lot of work to do to prepare for Thursday’s game against Mancos (away) and Tuesday’s game against Norwood (away). The Miners’ next home game will be Saturday, Oct. 3 against Nucla.
The Demons will travel to Dolores for their next game this Saturday, then go to Dove Creek Tuesday. Their next home game will be against Ignacio on Thursday, Oct. 1.