In matchup of top SWL teams, ‘Cats fall in 5 to Indians
MONTROSE — It doesn’t get much closer than this.
In a matchup Wednesday night between the two top volleyball teams in the Southwestern League, Montrose battled back from a 2-1 deficit to beat Fruita Monument in a tight five-set match, 25-22, 25-27, 23-25, 25-22, 15-10.
“Good volleyball, back-and-forth match, they’re a good team and we think we’re a good team, and that’s what happens when good teams play each other,” Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said.
The win moves the Indians (12-4, 5-1 SWL) into a tie with Fruita Monument (11-5, 5-1 SWL) in the standings with two league games remaining for both teams.
Montrose coach Shane Forrest said it was good to come out with the win after losing an equally tight five-set match at Fruita on Sept. 20.
“We found a way to get what we couldn’t get done in Fruita,” she said. “These are very evenly matched teams. I was concerned after that third set (loss) but the girls really fought back.”
Led by Allie Freeburg’s 23 kills and setter Katie Casebier’s 53 assists, the Indians have now won six of their past seven since the loss to the Wildcats.
The loss snapped the Wildcats’ seven-match winning streak.
Riley Snyder led the wildcats with 23 kills and 25 digs. Truth Hafey had 48 assists and Mackenzie Wells added 25 digs.
Montrose took an 8-5 lead in the fifth set but after Campbell Atkins drilled a spike off the Montrose block, it gave some momentum to the Wildcats and made the score 9-7. Then another spike off a block, this time by Dana Thomson, and the lead was down to only one at 9-8.
But the Indians pushed the lead to four with a quick five-point spurt, started by a Freeburg kill, to make the score 13-9.
After a Fruita timeout, Snyder had a kill to make the score 13-10 but that was the last point the Wildcats would get.
“We talked a lot about being tougher than they were but I thought in the fifth set, we started not hitting the ball hard and they did hit the ball hard, and that was the difference,” Richardson said.
Richardson said besides winning the SWL title, the main goal for the Wildcats remains to be in a position to host a Class 5A postseason regional tournament.
“We last hosted a regional in 2013 and we’re still in pretty good shape. I don’t think this loss will hurt us a lot because Montrose is a good 4A team,” he said.
The playoffs use the Ratings Percentage Index system and after the loss, the Wildcats now sit in eighth place. The top 12 teams will host a regional, Richardson said.
Montrose is now sixth in the RPI standings in Class 4A.