BOULDER — If Fairview volleyball players insist it’s early September rather than the beginning of October, cut them a little slack.
The Knights, after all, were only playing their fifth match of the season Tuesday night as the calendar flipped to October — a straight-sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-20 win against rival Boulder.
While nearly every local team in every sport has had to make schedule modifications due to the mid-month flooding, perhaps none are as extreme as those of the Knights. This statistic says it all: In an upcoming three-day stretch to end the week, Fairview will play more matches (seven) than it has in the season’s first month (five).
“We just have to be patient,” Knights junior outside hitter Bailey MacInnis said. “A lot of the other teams we’re playing have played a lot more games so they have more experience, so we just have to pull it together as a team and do what we know how to do.”
The Knights (4-1 overall, 3-1 Class 5A Front Range League) didn’t appear rusty in the league match, as they got a balanced, across-the-board effort en route to a reasonably comfortable win. Emerging freshman Caroline Schmiedeler had nine kills, MacInnis added eight, and 6-foot-3 middle blocker Samaria McGhee was a pronounced factor at the net with five blocks.
Fairview will play at Greeley West on Thursday before taking part in Eaton’s Rainy Days Tournament. The tourney is for teams who were forced to miss out on early-season action due to the weather, such as the Knights, who were forced to skip the Cherry Creek Tournament. They’ll play a combined five matches Friday and Saturday.
“Even though we’ve only played five matches, I’m really pleased with where we are right now,” Fairview coach Brooke Simmons said. “They’ve faced some adversity, but I think it’s only made them stronger. We’ll get those games in, but we’re going against teams that are five, six games ahead of us.”
The Knights withstood a fierce Boulder comeback to nip the Panthers (6-5, 2-2) in the opening set, then erupted to big leads in the final two. Fairview led 7-0 and 18-4 in Game 2 and 5-0 to start Game 3.
“Boulder had some strong serving, especially late in the game,” Simmons said. “We let up a bit, but we were able to seal it.”
Boulder got itself into a precarious position in each of the games with early deficits, and the Panthers were playing comeback for the majority of the night. Junior outside hitter Cassidy Evans paced the Panthers with eight kills, nine digs and two blocks.
“We brought a lot of fight in that first game, and losing it that way sometimes can deflate you a little bit,” Boulder coach Angela Sultzer said. “It’s common to start the next set slow, and there were moments of a little bit of doubt from them. Once we got past that, we had moments of greatness.”
Fairview setter Audrey Cheng distributed 23 assists and Kiani Rayford teamed with McGhee for an imposing presence in the middle.
The Knights now are hoping to use their situation to their advantage. A back-loaded schedule means they’ll have a chance to tune up for the postseason by playing live games on a more consistent basis than many other squads.
“It’s been a little tough, but we’re working through it,” MacInnis said. “The spaced-out games also gave us a little more time to develop as a team.”
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Fairview 3, Boulder 0
At Fairview HS
Boulder (6-5, 2-2) 23 19 20
Fairview (4-1, 3-1) 25 25 25
Kills — Boulder: Evans 8, Kube 4, Green 4, Stucka 2, Greer 2; Fairview: Schmiedeler 9, MacInnis 8, Rayford 6, McGhee 2, Lawrence 2, Yardley 2, Sherman 1, Cheng 1.
Blocks — Boulder: Kube 1, Greer 1, Aschbacher 1; Fairview: McGhee 5, Rayford 2, Yardley 2, Sherman 1, Cheng 1, Schmiedeler 1.
Assists — Boulder: Greer 18; Fairview: Cheng 23, McGhee 1.
Aces — Boulder: Green 3, Evans 2, Kube 2, Greer 1, Burkhardt 1; Fairview: Jewell 2, MacInnis 2, Schmiedeler 2, Cheng 2, Rayford 1.
Digs — Boulder: Burkhardt 11, Evans 9, Greer 7, Green 5, Kube 3, Edson 2; Fairview: Jewell 15, Carthwaite 10, MacInnis 7, Schmiedeler 7, Cheng 6, Lawrence 4, Rayford 2, Yardley 1, Sherman 1.