LONGMONT — Longmont senior libero Ellen Goodwin knew on Tuesday night she'd be in for some dips and dives, what with Silver Creek and the heavy-swinging Caitlin Volkmann coming into the LHS gym for a Northern League battle.
What she wasn't sure of, however, was exactly what else the Raptors were bringing to the table. With a few injuries rearing their ugly head on SCHS' side, Goodwin said it was important to be ready if Volkmann, Silver Creek's leading attacker, got in a lot of attempts.
She was right, and Longmont was prepared. In a great defensive effort that managed to work its way to the front row, the Trojans kept the Raptors from getting any momentum in a 3-0 sweep. On its home floor, Longmont was largely the aggressor against a younger team still trying to figure some things out, and the Trojans managed a 25-17, 25-9, 25-21 victory to move to 9-1 overall.
"We were just really cohesive tonight and the energy from the student section pumped us up. We wanted to do as good as we could for them, shine our brightest," Goodwin said after collecting a team-most 12 digs and helping LHS remain perfect in league at 5-0. "We knew they had a couple of newer players in and we wanted to use that to our advantage.
"Having someone as good as (Volkmann) over there, she hits so much harder than most other high school girls, so we really just have to plug in and focus every single point."
The Trojans have only lost one game in league play so far (a game record of 15-1), and on Tuesday didn't let much get in the way of giving their rowdy student section cheering moments.
While Volkmann did manage 11 kills on the night, it was tough for the Raptors to get a ball down consistently and rally for a string of points outside of the final game. Longmont took leads of 18-10 in game one, 14-6 in game two and managed to shut the door on one of their rivals with a four-point run in game three after a 21-21 tie.
The Trojans were balanced across the net, which kept the Silver Creek defense on their heels, as well. Payton Jonason, a sophomore, led the team with 10 kills, but five other players tallied at least three kills. Caroline Demosthenes had nine, Ada Grace Creighton seven and Zoe Lowe had six.
Silver Creek (5-5 overall, 3-3 league) is trying to get a new setter in the mix with freshman Alyssa Bennett doing some of the duty. Injuries to Tess Peter and Emily Churchich — the latter who still has been able to play in a more reserved role — has put the spotlight on some of the more inexperienced girls to step up.
The Raptors got a five-set win over Greeley Central in their last match with the rotation, and they'll get a second run through the league to figure things out.
"We're adjusting to a new setter who is just a freshman, and really all around it's just a learning experience for all of us," Silver Creek head coach Tatum McKenzie said. "I think there was just a lack of communication tonight, and they have five returning seniors on the other side. One thing about this team, though, is it has a ton of heart and we'll come back around for another chance against Longmont."
As for Longmont, a Thursday match against Centaurus is the only thing between now and a September 25 match against Niwot. Niwot continues to see itself high in the Class 4A rankings, but Goodwin said the Trojans are ready to shake things up a bit.
"We absolutely feel (under-appreciated)," Goodwin said. "We beat them last year and we didn't lose anybody, and we've all been playing so well. I think Niwot's going to have a lot coming for them. It's going to be a good match."
Longmont 3, Silver Creek 0
At Longmont HSSilver Creek (5-5, 3-3)17921Longmont (9-1, 5-0)252525
Kills — Silver Creek: Caitlin Volkmann 11, Megan Sotiroff 4, Megan Cunningham 3, Gabi Eisenberg 2, Katie James 1, Emily Churchich 1; Longmont: Payton Jonason 10, Caroline Demosthenes 9, Ada Grace Creighton 7, Zoe Lowe 6, Annika Wetterstrom 3 Autumn Drees 3.
Blocks — Silver Creek: Volkmann 4, Churchich 1, Maggie Adams 1; Longmont: Jonason 2, Wetterstrom 1, Demosthenes 1, Lowe 1.
Assists — Silver Creek: Alyssa Bennett 13, Churchich 6; Longmont: Annika Wetterstrom 31.
Aces — Silver Creek: Alyssa Bennett 2, Volkmann 2, Olivia Nelson 1; Longmont: Zoe Lowe 2, Tara Hitchcock 2, Wetterstrom 2, Drees 1.
Digs — Silver Creek: Volkmann 6, Bennett 3, Eisenberg 3; Longmont: Ellen Goodwin 12, Lowe 8, Hitchcock 6, Wetterstrom 5.