Fruita starts slow before sweeping Montrose

Fruita Monument’s Campbell Atkins, 8, and Sitori Carver, 2, combine to block the kill attempt Tuesday night by Montrose’s Kaylin McBride during the second set of the Wildcats’ 25-17, 25-23, 25-19 victory in Fruita.



It took the Fruita Monument High School volleyball team a little bit to get going Tuesday night.

Bad serves, miscommunication and a feisty Montrose team kept things close, but the Wildcats eventually swept the Indians 25-17, 25-23, 25-19.

Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said the Wildcats struggled early before finding a rhythm in the third set.

“We didn’t have very good service pressure in the first couple games,” Richardson said. “We seem to clean that up towards the end. Montrose did a nice job. They didn’t seem to make many mistakes and we made too many in the first couple of games.”

The Wildcats (14-1, 5-0 Southwestern League) opened the first set on a 3-0 run thanks to a series of errors from the Indians (7-9, 2-4), but then had two kill attempts sail out of bounds to keep the score close. A service error kept Montrose from tying it up, then Dana Thomson sparked a short run with strong play in multiple situations.

The run started with her effort on the defensive end, making a series of dives and lunges to spoil scoring opportunities for Montrose. She made plays in the front row, too, picking up an early block.

It’s rare to see someone with Thomson’s 6-foot frame on the back line, but her talent and athleticism keep her in the rotation.

“Normally, you see a girl who’s 6-foot and you’re tempted to take her out on the back row,” Richardson said. “But players like Dana and Riley (Snyder), you don’t have to do that because they play the back row pretty well and they’re pretty good on defense.”

Montrose eventually took the lead on strong front-row play from Madison Satterly, Katie Sherwood and Kaylin McBride, but Fruita used a lighter touch down the stretch to pull out the win.

Wildcats setter Truth Hafey lofted the ball over the net and into an open area, pulling Fruita within one point, down 18-17. Snyder wound up on a big kill to tie it, then finessed the ball over the net to give Fruita the lead. Montrose tied it again, but a string of kills from Thomson put the game away.

Montrose opened a lead again in the second set as Fruita battled to stay in the match. Both teams went back and fourth until Kenzie Wells and Hafey came up with big defensive plays to once again set up Thomson to close out the game.

In the third set, Fruita had a 7-0 run and coasted to the victory despite a late push from Montrose.

Thomson finished with a match-high 18 kills and Snyder added 11. The Wildcats had 12 aces, led Snyder and Maddy Mueller with three each.

Central 3, Moffat County 0: Sophomore Destiny Gardner recorded a match-high nine kills to go with 16 assists and eight aces from Chloe Nordstrom as the Warriors swept the Bulldogs 25-15,
25-17, 25-21.

Moffat County (2-14) stayed with Central (3-13) late in the second and third sets, tying the third set 21-21 before a cross-court kill from Ashley Merkel sparked a 4-0 run to end it.

Central amassed 17 aces, getting three apiece from Merkel, Jalyn Alton and Sabree Herrera. Delaney Brown added eight kills and Merkel seven for the Warriors.


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