At first glance, it looked like Columbine girls volleyball cruised to a relatively uneventful 3-0 sweep of Evergreen on Wednesday night at Columbine High School.
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However, it was anything but a routine non-league 27-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory for the young Rebels. The Cougars actually had a 24-19 lead in the first set, but Columbine was able to eventually fend off five set points to take a dramatic 27-25 comeback first set win.
“I think volleyball is always an extremely up and down game. It is always a rollercoaster,” Columbine sophomore setter Maddie Lynett said of the first set. “We were up and then we totally plummeted, but we came back and fought.”
Columbine led early in the set, but Evergreen went on an 11-0 run with sophomore Sage Roeder serving. It looked like the Cougars would take the opening set, but Columbine rallied.
Junior Maddie Wallner eventually served with the Rebels having a set-point leading 26-25. Lynett and sophomore Morgan Schneider went up for a block. Lynett got a hand on the ball to get the block and set victory.
“Normally setters are shorter, so I think it’s an advantage that I can go up and block,” said Lynett, who did a good job distributing the ball to her teammates.
Schneider, Wallner, along with senior Aaliyah Rodrakkwan and freshman Sofia Screaton all had nice offensive games for the Rebels.
“It is fun to watch them battle through it,” Columbine coach Shelly Kurach said of the Rebels’ third straight victory after an opening season loss to Ponderosa. “We are going through some growing pains right now, but that’s OK. We are a young team and we’ll figure it out.”
Columbine figured out soon enough to hold off Evergreen’s rally in the second set. The Rebels had a few set points spoiled by the Cougars before sophomore Taylor Speir was able to put down a kill to give Columbine a 25-23 win in the second set.
“We are extremely young. Half of us are sophomores,” Lynett said. “It is hard because a lot of us haven’t truly been on varsity before, but we are extremely athletic. I think that is a bonus.”
Evergreen (2-4 record) led for the majority of the third set before Columbine took a 19-18 lead. Rodrakkwan put down the game-winning kill off an assist from Lynett to end the match.
“Sometimes I just tell Maddie to just play,” Kurach said of the Rebels’ sophomore setter. “She gets a lot of things in her head. She is such an athlete that you just have to let her play and let her do her thing. She is doing awesome. She is going to be a great asset to our program for a long time.”
Columbine heads to the Chaparral Showcase tournament coming up Friday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Gold Crown Field House in Lakewood where the Rebels should see some tough 5A competition.
“We just want to compete every point, every play,” Kurach said. “That is how we are going to get better. It’s going to be fun.”
Evergreen stays on the road for a match next week against Dakota Ridge on Sept. 5.
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