Teddi’s big surprise: Solid game from Fruita junior catches Central off-guard

Fruita Monument’s Camille Kovach, 12, goes up for a kill Tuesday as Central’s Kimber Baker, 14, and Chelsey Garcia 21, defend during the Wildcats’ 25-18, 18-25, 23-25, 25-21, 16-14 victory. Kovach finished with 16 kills and 23 digs.

Teddi Larson gave the Fruita Monument High School volleyball team a much-needed boost.

Tuesday night at Central, the 5-foot-11 middle hitter had a season-high 20 kills in the Wildcats’ 25-18, 18-25, 23-25, 25-21, 16-14 victory over the Warriors.

“I think we’ve discovered Teddi over the season, so maybe we weren’t using her right at first,” Fruita Monument coach Bob Richardson said. “Teddi’s been having some great games lately and (Tuesday night) she really came on strong.”

Larson, a junior, didn’t have her first double-digit kill night until last Friday against Durango, when she finished with 15.

Richardson said with all the attention paid to Fruita’s outside hitter, Camille Kovach, Larson has been able to have more open looks on the attack.

“We’ve been trying to balance our scoring since early in the season we relied on Camille too much,” Richardson said. “Teddi has come through.”

Larson had seven kills in the fourth game, including the game winner. Her big night even caught the Warriors off guard.

“In the fourth set, she had so many points,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “It was a surprise for sure, and we adjusted, but it was too late.”

The Wildcats (17-2, 7-2 SWL) were playing with plenty of emotion as they honored the family of Caitlyn True, a Fruita Monument student who died last weekend.

The True family was in attendance, and each Fruita player embraced the family during introductions.

“It was a rough, emotional weekend for these girls,” Richardson said. “We wanted to play like (Caitlyn) would have wanted us to play, and just go all-out.”

The Wildcats overcame a slow start in the first game, and an aggressive Ashley Wells helped give the Warriors (14-5, 5-4 SWL) a 10-5 lead.

Fruita responded with a 9-0 swing, and kills from Katy Haerle down the stretch allowed the Wildcats to secure the first game.

“We didn’t show up in the first game,” Nelson said. “Fruita hustles and we weren’t getting much by them.”

The Warriors began the second game with a crushing kill from Wells on their way to the win.

The Central senior led the Warriors with 22 kills.

Central took an early lead in the third game and held off a late Fruita Monument charge to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

“This whole season we’ve had a team effort,” Nelson said. “I’m not disappointed in our effort at all.”

After the Wildcats evened the match, the fifth game went back and forth until Kovach gave Fruita a 15-14 lead. The Wildcats’ Ashley Martin ended the match with a kill.

“In the third game, it looked like we wanted to go home,” Richardson said. “We recovered, then stopped before the fifth game and said, ‘let’s focus and finish strong.’ “

Kovach had 16 kills and 23 digs. Angie Archuleta finished with 31 assists.

Central’s Nikki Keeling had 43 assists and Demi Ruder had 24 digs.

Fruita Monument finished its regular season with its two SWL losses both coming against Durango.

The Demons play Montrose and Grand Junction this week, and Fruita can win the SWL outright if the Demons lose either match.

The Wildcats and Warriors have clinched a spot in the district playoffs, which will be announced Sunday afternoon.


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