BOULDER — Playing in a conference where just two games separated second place and sixth place in the standings last fall, the Fairview volleyball team might look back at Thursday’s match as one it wishes it could have back.
After falling in the first game Thursday, Fossil Ridge used a formidable block to change the course of the match and cruise to a 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-16 victory over host Fairview.
But the Knights walked off the court knowing they made far too many unforced errors in a contest between what appeared to be two evenly-matched squads.
“We didn’t really execute and that was disappointing,” Knights right side Alison Yardley said. “But we learned a lot from this game.”
The Knights fell to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the Front Range League as both teams opened conference play. Fossil Ridge (3-1, 1-0) finished in a three-way tie with Legacy for fourth place in the league last fall.
“It’s a very competitive league and definitely every game is important for the playoffs, but also for us to improve every game,” FHS coach Brooke Simmons said.
The Knights appeared primed to beat Fossil Ridge for the second year in a row after withstanding a Sabercats rally in the opening frame.
But that’s when Fossil’s Katherine Stevens and Bridgette Lococo went to work in the front row.
Stevens finished with 12 blocks and Lococo six. And if they weren’t getting the block, their presence was altering plenty of Fairview attacks to fly long or wide.
Fossil Ridge took the early lead in the second, third and fourth games, and barely looked back.
“The first game they had some nice swings,” Fossil coach Paul Shimek said. “But I think that block took them out of it a little bit and made it easier for us to play defense.”
Stevens added seven kills to her effort, while Katelyn Schwartz led the way offensively for Fossil with 11 kills.
Yardley led FHS offensively with 10 kills. Paige Lindgren notched 16 digs, and Courtney Roberts added 15 to lead the Knights’ defense.
“We were all kind of in our own minds and not really together as a team,” Yardley said. “They had a really big block. I think for all of us it was tough.”
Fossil Ridge 3, Fairview 1
At Fairview HS
Fossil Ridge (3-1, 1-0) 23 25 25 25
Fairview (2-2, 0-1) 25 17 16 16
Kills — Fossil Ridge: Schwartz 11, Dannattell 9, Betance 7, Stevens 7, Lococo 6, d’Agosto 3; Fairview: Yardley 10, Lindgren 6, Roberts 3, Rayford 3, Anderson 3.
Blocks — Fossil Ridge: Stevens 12, Lecoco 6, Schwartz 2, Betance 2; Fairview: Rayford 3, Yardley 2, MacInnis 2.
Digs — Fossil Ridge: Lanza 12, Schwartz 12, Betance 11; Fairview: Lindgren 16, Roberts 15, Flynn 11.
Assists — Fossil Ridge: Schwartz 22, Dannattell 21; Fairview: Brennan 17, Davis 9, Yardley 3.
Aces — Fossil Ridge: Betance 2, d’Agosto 2; Fairview: Roberts 2, Lindgren 2, Flynn 2.