Crosstown cat fight: Wildcats get better of Tigers once again
The Fruita Monument High School volleyball team used its familiarity with a crosstown rival as an advantage.
Tuesday night at Fruita, the Wildcats cruised to a 25-19, 25-10, 25-17 win against Grand Junction.
“We knew where they played their defense, how they set their defense, and knew what their setter wanted to do,” Fruita Monument senior setter Vanessa Bodie said. “We were prepared this match more than the last one.”
The Wildcats (13-1, 4-1 Southwestern League) defeated Grand Junction (5-11, 0-6 SWL) in mid-September 27-25, 25-15, 25-15.
Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said the Wildcats were too excited for the first match, and did a better job of controlling emotions the second time around.
“It’s a rivalry and everyone is going to be working their hardest,” Richardson said. “They aren’t going to give up, so we knew we had to dial it back and play our game.”
The Wildcats survived a five-point run by the Tigers in the first game that tied it 15-15. Fruita responded with a five-point swing of its own, and held the momentum the rest of the game.
Fruita took control in the second game, taking a 10-2 lead, propelled by three aces by Janine Kirtland. The Wildcats pushed their lead to 20-7 before closing out the game.
“In the second game, they had a tough time with our serves,” Richardson said. “We wanted to serve tough, and we might make some errors, but we want to make it hard on them.”
Kirtland finished with four aces and Bodie added three.
Fruita Monument trailed most of the third game before a kill by freshman Joelle Lefevre helped the ‘Cats tie the game 16-16. The Wildcats got another big kill from Lefevre at 19-17, and finished the game with a block by Ashley Martin.
The Wildcats showcased some of their underclassmen in the final game as Lefevre and sophomores Eiley Durham and Cynthia Brown helped close out the match.
“It was really cool to see the younger girls,” Bodie said. “They are the future of our program, so it was nice to see them go in.”
Camille Kovach led the Wildcats with nine kills. Angie Archuleta had 15 assists and Bodie added 10.
Kirkland had 11 digs to go along with her four aces.
On the other side, Grand Junction couldn’t hide its disappointment with its play.
“That was hard,” Grand Junction coach Leslie Vines said. “We’ve worked all season on becoming a team and we kind of came apart tonight.”
Kricket Adleman and Justine Roof both had five kills for the Tigers. Capri Rino finished with 21 digs and Rachel Stahl, Hannah Kimmel and Roof all had three blocks.
Grand Junction is off until next Tuesday, when the Tigers host Central. The Wildcats play Palisade on Thursday.
“We set a goal to win the valley,” Richardson said. “We’ve beaten Central and Grand Junction, now we get to see a tough Palisade team.”