Kremmmling " West Grand volleyball team finishes second at tournament |

Kremmmling " West Grand volleyball team finishes second at tournament

Larry Banman
Sky-Hi Daily News

It was a good start to the year for the West Grand High School volleyball team at the Glenwood Springs Invitational Preseason Tournament this past weekend as the Mustangs won three of four matches and finished in second place.

“This is the best we have finished in this tournament for a long time,” coach Laura Gore said. “I am very happy about the way we began the season. It was a great experience and we brought home a second-place plaque.”

What made the accomplishment even more satisfying were that the victories came against larger schools from Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs and Denver Christian. In the championship match, the Mustangs were defeated in two games by Grand Junction Central.

The tournament started on Friday night with West Grand defeating Steamboat Springs in two games.

“That was the best match we played this weekend,” Gore said.

The tournament continued Saturday with pool play matches against Grand Junction High School and Denver Christian. The Mustangs were extended to three games in the win over Grand Junction before defeating Denver Christian in two games.

“Our strong point this weekend was ball control and keeping the ball in play,” Gore said. “I thought we did a good job of controlling the tempo of the games.”

West Grand brought nine players to the match as the junior varsity squad was involved in a junior varsity/C-team match in Kremmling.

Starting in the contests for the Mustangs were Renea Ellison, Brook Cecil, Rose Hargadine, Jessica Raecke, Melissa Kraker and Danette Billington.

Coming off of the bench were Alyse Billington, Kelsey Keck and Rebecca Roller. Coach Gore uses both Ellison and Alyse Billington as setters. When Ellison is on the front row she assumes a hitting role with Alyse Billington working as the setter. Keck substitutes along the front row and Roller is the team’s libero (defensive specialist) in certain rotations.

For the weekend, Danette Billington was the leading hitter for the Mustangs as she had 14 kills. Hargadine led the team in blocks with six. Gore said the team only counts blocks that lead directly to points. Hargadine got her hands on several more hits by the opposition, Gore noted.

Alyse Billington led the team in serves as she nailed 100 percent of her serve attempts.

Coach Gore said the leadership of her senior players has been excellent during practice and that carried over into the tournament.

At the tournament in Kremmling, the junior varsity team for West Grand won two of its four matches. Due to a lack of players with enough practices, the Mustangs only fielded one team at the tournament.

The team has been growing as more players join the squad, Coach Gore said, and now numbers 25. The Mustangs will field both a junior varsity and a C-team for the rest of the season.

West Grand has a busy schedule this week with contests against Hayden on Tuesday, Soroco on Thursday and Vail Christian on Saturday. All of the games are on the road and only the Soroco game will count in the league standings.

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