Cedaredge High School's volleyball team battled a scrappy, and much improved, Hotchkiss team on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The Bruins played well, giving up just one set to the Bulldogs, in a 3-1 victory in 3A WSL play.
The Bruins won the first set 25-15 and took a 2-0 lead after a 25-8 second-set win. Hotchkiss slowed the Bruins' Homecoming week win by earning a 25-20 win in set three. Cedaredge won the match with a deciding 25-20 win in set four.
There were anxious moments in set one for the Bruins. Cedaredge led 9-7 before the Bulldogs' Ashley Ziemer began her service. The Bulldogs took the lead, 10-9, and finished Ziemer's service tied 10-10.
The Bruins used the service of Kayla Kensler to build a 21-14 lead and Courtney Freeman finished the set with three service points and a 25-15 Bruins' win.
Makayla Kehmeier opened the second set with a five-point service.
Ziemer's service began with Hotchkiss trailing 8-9. The Bulldogs led 11-10 when she had finished her service.
The set was tied at 13-13 and the Bulldogs led 15-14 following Fatima Rodriguez's service. Holly Jenkins' service produced a 17-16 lead for Cedaredge and Kensler had another good service rotation with five points and a 23-17 lead for the Bruins.
Freeman finished the set with her serve for a 25-18 set point and a 2-0 match lead.
Hotchkiss and Cedaredge traded leads for most of the third set with the Bruins leading 21-19 late in the set.
On Rodriguez's final service rotation, the Bulldogs found the rhythm to fight back from two points down to win the final six points to take a 25-20 decision.
Set four was another back-and-forth scoring game. Neither team could stretch a lead by more than three points throughout the set.
Elsie Vazquez had Hotchkiss' final serve and the match was tied at 20-20.
Cedaredge's Kissner took the final service with the Bruins leading 21-20. She finished with four straight successful serves to make the final score 25-20.
Peter Nethington, Hotchkiss' new volleyball coach, was optimistic in his team's play. "We are sticking to our system and staying away from doing crazy things and playing within ourselves. We're keeping good attitudes and are just a win away from our total win number of last year. All we can do is focus on what we can do. We want to be better tomorrow than we were today."
Cedaredge coach Heather Dunbar knew the Bruins would have their hands full. "I knew they (Hotchkiss) would be up for this game because Pete would have them ready. Our kids now have a respect for Hotchkiss they didn't have before."
The Bruins hosted Grand Valley last Friday with results similar to the Hotchkiss match. Cedaredge won in four sets, 25-11, 25-14, 22-25 and 25-11.
Freeman's 11 kills led Cedaredge's offense.
"We really blocked well and Alyssa Kissner had four to herself," noted Dunbar.
Cedaredge is in Gunnison Saturday, Sept. 23, for varsity action beginning at 1 p.m. "We are looking ahead to a good game up in Gunnison ... it's always a battle up there," quoted Dunbar.
The Bruins face Coal Ridge in New Castle on Sept. 26 with varsity play beginning at 6:30 p.m. and are in Paonia on Sept. 29 for a 5 p.m. varsity contest. Cedaredge's final match of the week is Saturday in Basalt with a 1 p.m. varsity start time.
Hotchkiss is scheduled to face Vail Christian at Edwards this Friday with varsity play set for 5 p.m.
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Bulldogs host Vail Mountain at 6 p.m. (varsity) and then travel to Meeker on Sept. 29 for a 4 p.m. varsity contest.