IGNACIO – The Lady Miners finished their 2008 volleyball season at the District Tournament in Ignacio last weekend, clashing against strong Mancos and Dolores rivals with what Coach Fawnda Rogers called their strongest performance of the season.
“Yet it wasn't enough to defeat Mancos and Dolores, though we did give them a run for their efforts,” she said.
Telluride ultimately fell to Dolores in five games, T20-D25, T10-D25, T25-D14, T25-D18, T6-D15. They also succumbed to Mancos’s strong squad, T26-M24, T22-M25, T18-M25, T14-M25. (Mancos went on to win the tournament and qualify for Regionals.)
The Miners returned in their third game of the day, however, managing to upend the hometown favorite Ignacio in four games, T18-I25, T25-I15, T25-I19, T25-I21.
Service errors were the culprit of Telluride’s loss to Dolores, Rogers said. “For some reason, the girls just don't serve well under pressure, and the District tournament is definitely full of pressure.”
Rogers noted senior player Sarah Carlson played a superb match against Dolores, with many assists and serving aces at crucial times. Emma Gross played "just like ice" (a phrase the team uses to exemplify being cool under pressure). Said Rogers of Gross’s play: “Emma's unorthodox hitting style makes her a very effective offensive player and it's very difficult for teams to block. She played with poise all day, even under pressure.”
Following the Dolores match, Ramona Shepherd, the Mancos coach, confided to Rogers that she was most worried about Telluride; Rogers said, “[It’s] because my girls play so well against her team – and we really did play well.”
Unfortunately, unforced errors ended the match for Telluride. The stellar serving from Alexis Cruzzavella and fantastic defense of Evan Tuellar helped keep the Miners in the game, as did many well-placed attacks from Brittany Altman and kills from Nickey Goldsworthy that caused concern for the Mancos squad. Meanwhile, freshman Emy Ludwig provided the team with fantastic setting and several serving points. Emily Langley, also a freshman playing on the varsity squad, had a good day blocking.
“Playing at the varsity level as a freshman is difficult at best, and both Emy and Emily did a great job coming into the program and learning our offense and defensive systems. These two ladies will help lead Telluride to a District championship in the future,” Rogers said.
Allisyn Stanfield, a junior, came into the game as a substitute to give Goldsworthy a break after she dove for a ball and injured her shoulder. Stanfield served several aces and changed the pace of the match with her great defensive play, Rogers noted.
Following their two morning losses, the Miners returned unruffled to the volleyball court in game three, for what Rogers called “the best of the day.”
“The Lady Miners play great when there is no pressure, and our last match wasn't for the championship, it was for third place, so we had nothing to lose,” Rogers explained. In the Ignacio match, Rogers and assistant coach Rhea Depagter decided to play all of the squad’s seniors – a move that proved not only heartening for the team’s outgoing seniors, but also emerged as the day’s winning combination. Senior Jacque Distefano went in the game as a defensive specialist for Lindsey Bosse, who played as one of the team’s outside hitters. Alexis Cruzzavalla was Telluride’s serving specialist, and came into the game serving tough as nails. “She has one of those serves that can come at you like a bullet,” Rogers said, noting that right side player Meghan Cain also had a great game against Ignacio.
“Our win against Ignacio was a great way to end the season. All of our seniors really stepped up and played great,” said assistant coach Depagter.