Payback: MPHS volleyball masters archrivals, Colorado Academy | SkyHiNews.com

Payback: MPHS volleyball masters archrivals, Colorado Academy

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Revenge can be so sweet as Middle Park High’s volleyball team learned last Saturday when the Lady Panthers whipped their archrivals Colorado Academy who beat them last year.

Traveling to Colorado Springs, the Lady Panthers opened the match by losing the first two games, 16-25 and 18-25. In the must-win third game, Middle Park finally rallied and won it 29-27.

That third-game win broke Colorado Academy’s will while energizing Middle Park’s players. The Lady Panthers then powered to victory in the match’s last two games by scores of 25-16 and 15-12.

“That match was so awesome and so much fun,” said Middle Park’s Coach Kris Newberry. “It was payback for last year when Colorado Academy beat us in the fifth game of the match. It’s always been a great rivalry between us and Colorado Academy.”

Newberry admitted Friday’s match “started a little slow” for the team because they were experimenting with a new rotation of players.

“We were trying the new rotation to capitalize on the height and blocking abilities of some of our players,” she said. “It was also the first time this season that we used a Libero. We moved Chelsea Lang from the middle hitter position to Libero, and she did an outstanding job as our backrow defensive specialist.”

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The combination of changing the team’s rotation as well as fielding a Libero caught Colorado Academy by surprise.

“Our new lineup did a great job at blocking,” Newberry said. “We put up such a big wall, Colorado Academy had to try to find some way to get over it. Our blocking forced them to change their attack style.”

The stats speak for themselves. In Friday’s match, the Lady Panthers earned more blocks then any other match this season.

Middle Park sophomore Elsa Krieg lead the team’s defense with six blocks. She was followed by the varsity’s new middle hitter Quincey Pedersen who made five blocks while her teammate Cheyenne Hickox had three.

The new rotation also allowed Anna Conrad to earn her first couple of blocks for the season. Shannan Stensvad and Madison Zolnir made one block each.

The team’s new Libero, Chelsea Lang, really proved herself by leading the team with

18 digs Friday. Conrad was next with 10 digs while Krieg and Stensvad had seven apiece. Zolnir made four digs during during the match.

“The new rotation gave us our best all-around match for passing and blocking,” Newberry said. “It really played to the key strengths of our players.”

Middle Park’s offense was also impressive with a high number of kills against Colorado Academy. Krieg led with 12 kills, followed by Stensvad with eight, Conrad with seven, Zolnir with six and Pedersen with four.

“This win was a great mental boost for our girls,” Newberry said. “Colorado Academy is the toughest team we’ve played to date. Our girls proved to themselves that they can beat a real high caliber team.”

While the varsity roared to victory Friday, Middle Park’s junior varsity and C-Squad were not as fortunate. The JVs fell to Colorado Academy in two games 17-25 and 22-25 while the C-Squad did the same by scores of 14-25 and 117-25.

“Colorado Academy has strong teams at all levels,” Newberry said.

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