Kirtland’s serving helps ‘Cats get past Warriors

Fruita’s Camille Kovach goes up for one of her 22 kills Thursday in the Wildcats’ 25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-6 win over Central.

The turning point in Thursday night’s volleyball match at Fruita Monument High School was obvious.

In a Southwestern League clash between Fruita Monument and Central, the Warriors jumped out to a 2-1 lead after three games.

Janine Kirtland served three straight aces to propel the Wildcats to a 25-21 win to force a fifth game.

Fruita Monument (12-1, 3-1 SWL) controlled the final game for a 25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-6 win.

“We were down and needed some momentum from our serves,” Kirtland said. “Those three aces set off the momentum for the fifth game.”

Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said the Wildcats pride themselves in their serving.

“One of the keys in our game is the ability to serve tough,” Richardson said. “Those three aces gave us confidence. It was a turning point.”

The match had plenty of implications in the league race. Both teams had one league loss coming into the match, and needed a win to stay close to unbeaten Durango.

Fruita came out strong to take the first game. Central (9-3, 2-2 SWL) responded with wins the next two games with Kristina Lindsey sealing the latter with a kill.

The Warriors jumped to a 4-0 lead in the fourth game before Fruita fought its way back.

“We didn’t finish,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “The bottom line was our own errors, we hurt ourselves in critical times, we would lose our momentum when we needed to gain it.”

Nelson added she was disappointed with the way the match ended.

“That score was frustrating because I know we are better than that,” Nelson said of the fifth game. “I knew (Thursday night) was going to be a tough battle.”

Ashley Wells led the Warriors with 18 kills and 16 digs. Mady Minzey contributed 23 digs and Nikki Keeling had 23 assists. Fruita had a big match from Camille Kovach, who had 22 kills and 23 digs. Angie Archuleta added 26 assists and three aces.

“This one was extremely important because we know Central is a good team,” Richardson said. “We couldn’t lose our home court, and knew we couldn’t afford to get two games behind (Durango) if we have any hopes to win the conference.”

Palisade 3, Glenwood Springs 1

The Bulldogs won on the road 18-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-9.

Audrey Steinkirchner led Palisade with 15 kills. Emily Zamora had 33 assists, Danette Whittington had 17 digs and Chelsea Wells added eight kills and four solo blocks.

Palisade’s next game is Tuesday at Steamboat Springs.


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