PEACH VALLEY – The Class 3A Coal Ridge High School volleyball team was defeated by the Battle Mountain Huskies, the ninth-ranked Class 4A team in Colorado. But the Titans didn’t go down without a fight against the upper-tier squad before the Huskies prevailed 25-23, 25-18, 26-24 in the nonconference match.
The first set was close throughout, with Battle Mountain only leading the set by three points before Coal Ridge reeled off a modes 4-1 run to tie the set at 21-21. The Huskies closed out the first set, however, junior Emily Clinton snagged a kill to close out the 25-23 triumph.
Battle Mountain held onto a lead in the second, with early kills by senior LaRose Currie. The momentum swung back in the Titans favor, though, as a pair of Jacklyn Collins kills were part of a run that helped Coal Ridge take an 8-7 lead. After that short lead, however, Battle Mountain responded with powerful hitters and service aces, resulting in an 11-3 run against the Titans. Although Coal Ridge ended the set strong, the Titans weren’t able to stop Mackenzie Ellison, who scored the last two points to end the set 25-18.
Coal Ridge (15-2 overall) started off the third set with the lead, but Currie responded for Battle Mountain with four strong kills to even the score at 13-13. Titans senior Alicia Hampton slammed down a mouth-dropping kill with the back set assist by junior Maggie Bell, which fired them up as they held onto the lead for majority of the third set. Battle Mountain’s Emily Clinton pitched in a pair of kills, bringing the Huskies within 23-22. Both teams fought hard for the last few points, but Battle Mountain came out on top when a Coal Ridge hitting error ended the match.
“We played great,” Coal Ridge coach Scott Black said. “It’s not that they outplayed us, they just made fewer errors than we did.
“We’ve got to play that way from here on out to play at that level,“ he continued. “I told them to go in and play relaxed. [The loss] is not going to hurt us.” As far as conference games, he shared, “Our focus is on Rifle on Thursday, and we have to win that. We’re focused on Thursday.”
The Huskies, who improved to 13-1 overall with the victory, got just as much out of the match in the victory as the Titans did in the loss.
“We were excited to play Coal Ridge this year,” Battle Mountain coach Jason Fitzgerald said.
“We knew they were top 3A division ... they took us to five games last year,” he continued about Coal Ridge, a team ranked No. 9 in Class 3A. “so we knew that they were going to be a tough task. They have a great slide hitter [Alicia Hampton], and we needed to see someone that can do what she does to be prepared in the future, so that was great for us to come in here.”
Collins led the Titans with 14 kills, followed by Paige Ryan with six, and Bailey Davis, Alicia Hampton, and Brittni Allen with four respectively.
Currie led Battle Mountain with 12 kills, Ellison was close behind with 10, and Emily Clinton added eight.