Warriors rally from one game down to defeat Grand Junction

The Grand Junction High School volleyball team isn’t going to give up.

The Tigers entered Tuesday night’s game at Central coming off two straight 3-0 losses, but surprised the Warriors with a 25-17 win in the first game.

“That felt really good, and we needed that really bad,” Grand Junction coach Leslie Vines said. “I was hoping it would keep going.”

The Tigers couldn’t keep the momentum as Central responded with three consecutive wins, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23, to close out the match.

“Junction is improved for sure,” Central coach Beth Nelson said. “They came out strong and we didn’t show up early.”

The Tigers (5-12, 0-7 Southwestern League) had a 10-point lead in the first game before a Central run closed the gap to 23-17. Grand Junction’s Justine Roof had a kill to push the game to 24-17 and another kill on the next point gave the Tigers the first-game win.

Roof said one reason for the success in the first game was the Tigers’ focus.

“We are so far out that there is no reason not to go out and have fun,” Roof said. “In the first game, we were all talking to each other, and we weren’t playing the game for ourselves, we played it for each other.”

The loss continued the league misfortune for the Tigers, who are 2-35 in the past four years in league play.

First-year coach Vines said little victories like winning the first game on the road at Central (13-3, 4-2 SWL) helps the program progress.

“The more of those that come, the more confidence we get,” Vines said. “But it’s hard coming up short every time and I told them after the match that the difference between 23 and 25 is the effort in practice.”

Kricket Adleman had 14 kills and six aces and Alicia Copp had 23 assists. Capri Rino added 27 digs.

The Tigers were tied 18-18 in the second game before the Warriors went on a 7-3 run to close out the game.

Grand Junction was within one point in the third game at 18-17, but kills from Chelsey Garcia and Kristina Lindsey helped take game three 25-17.

“We came out slow, but pulled out of it,” Central’s Ashley Wells said. “We started picking up our defense and moving our feet and came together as a team.”

Wells had four kills for the final four points in the deciding game.

Wells finished with 23 kills, 11 digs and three aces.

“Ashley was especially key in the fourth game, and that’s when her timing was coming together,” Nelson said. “She played smart.”

Lindsey added 12 kills and 20 digs and Nikki Keeling had 39 assists.

Central has three games remaining beginning this weekend with a trip to Montezuma-Cortez and Durango. The Warriors finish up the regular season Oct. 19 at home against Fruita Monument.

“The last three matches are all very important,” Nelson said. “I’m happy with where we are at, and I think with the way we are playing, we’ll go into this final stretch of games and challenge the other teams.”


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