The winner of the match goes onto play in this weekend’s season finale tourney, which will be held in Telluride on Saturday. Due to deadline constraints, results from Thursday’s game were unavailable as of press time but will be printed in Tuesday’s paper.
The Middle School Miners volleyball team, which boasts a dozen A-team eighth graders and close to 20 underclassmen, was tied with Ridgway in conference rankings at the end of the regular season. The Thursday match decided which team would join Norwood, Dove Creek and Dolores in tournament play.
Thursday’s tie-breaker game followed an impressive Telluride showing last Saturday, during which the Miners beat Ouray, but fell to a dominating Dove Creek squad.
Spearheaded by leadership from A-team captains Scout Franklin and Sarah Wontrobski, Telluride’s Middle School squad was hoping to carry the momentum from their Saturday victory over the Ouray Trojans into Thursday’s match-up against the Ridgway Middle School Demons.
“They’ve really improved over the course of the season, winning more games in the second half,” said head middle school volleyball coach Stephanie Ferris. “It’s really just starting to come together.”
Irregardless of the outcome of Thursday night’s match, the success of Telluride’s Middle School volleyball program has already been made clear: With 30 players, more than a third of which are eighth graders planning on moving up to high school-level competition next year, Telluride’s future looks bright on the volleyball court. Said Ferris of the popular middle school program, “It’s really a good transition into high school play. They’re able to garner a better understanding of the game, while developing good fundamental skills.”
Fawnda Rogers, who heads the high school volleyball program, said she is eagerly awaiting a hefty roster of incoming freshman to round out next year’s junior varsity team. “I am fortunate that the eighth grade girls, many who have been also trying to play club soccer this season, have given so much effort in improving their skills… all of them have the potential to help Telluride make it to State someday in the future. If every one of the eighth grade girls continues to play, what a strong team we will have in high school!”
Saturday’s San Juan Basin League tournament in Telluride is slated to begin at 10 a.m.