Central VB team edges GJ in 5 games

Central bounced back after getting routed in Game 4 to edge Grand Junction for a 26-24,
21-25, 25-16, 12-25, 15-13 victory in Southwestern League volleyball Tuesday.

After two close games, each team won a game fairly easily, and the Tigers had the momentum after the fourth game, but Central coach Jennifer Armendariz said her players kept their composure. The Warriors took the lead for good in the middle of the final game, but the Grand Junction stayed close the whole way.

“I’m really proud of them, after the fourth game loss, to come out and fight for that game,” Armendariz said. “We had to come out strong, and we did that.”

The Warriors (6-8, 2-5 SWL) also prevailed with some new faces in the lineup, changes necessitated by a shoulder injury that kept Central’s leading hitter, senior Taylor Head, out of the lineup.

“We made a lot of changes, and we brought some kids up from the JV,” Armendariz said. “They were working hard in practice the last few days. It was a good team win.”

Nichole McIvor led the Warriors’ hitters with 17 kills, and Rayleigh Norton did a little of everything, contributing 10 kills, 24 assists, 24 digs and two blocks. Armendariz added senior libero Hannah Price “stepped up. She was lights out.” Price finished with a team-high 29 digs.

Courtney Gopinath led the Tigers (7-8, 1-6) with 12 kills, and Ashley Preuss had 10 kills. Aleah Quast added 20 digs and three aces for Grand Junction.

Boys soccer

Palisade took control of a close game with a strong start to the second half and defeated Rifle 7-3 in a Class 4A Western Slope League matchup in Rifle.

The Bulldogs (4-7, 3-6 WSL) led 3-2 at the half, but Palisade coach Austin Wallace said, “It was pretty much anyone’s game. It was scary.”

So, he asked his players to do something about it.

“At halftime, we talked about putting the dagger in them and twisting it,” Wallace said. “And we scored two quick goals.”

Marques Combs scored on a breakaway to make it 4-2, and soon after Damick Kinson scored off a corner kick, one-touching the ball into the net for a three-goal advantage.

Combs finished with two goals, and the Bulldogs got single goals from Kinson, Austin Stelmach, Johnny Moir, Joseph Talbott and Spencer Richardson. Palisade goalkeeper Ivan Galindo made 11 saves.

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