LONGMONT – It wouldn’t be a volleyball match between Longmont and Silver Creek without a raucous crosstown rivalry crowd and a whole mess of tense moments.
That’s just what the two teams and their respective fans provided when the Raptors and Trojans squared off for the first time in 2019 on Tuesday night at Silver Creek.
The raucousness was there throughout and the tense moments came late but in the end it was the Silver Creek girls who prevailed, holding off a late charge from Longmont to win 25-15, 25-16, 21-25, 25-23. It was the first time the Raptors beat their crosstown rivals since Oct. 20, 2016.
“I wish we had this many people in the gym every night,” Raptors head coach John Miller said. “We were in control early but they fought back and took the momentum away from us in Game 3. In Game 4, we got the momentum back and we did what we needed to do to get out of here with a win tonight. It’s a great crosstown rivalry and matches like that make it fun for both teams.”
The host Raptors (8-2, 5-0), who are currently ranked No. 10 in Class 4A by the CHSAANow.com poll, won the first two sets of the Northern League showdown handily. But the Trojans (5-5, 3-2), who went 23-6 and reached the 4A state semifinals last season, made a late run and nearly pushed the match to a fifth set.
The Trojans came from behind in Game 4 and tied the score at 21-21, even taking a brief lead after that. But with the match knotted up at 23-23, the Raptors scored back-to-back points to close it out.
“In the beginning two sets, we were really playing well and really playing as a team,” Raptors senior Kate Prestwich said. “In the third set, we kind of let it get into our heads. But we had a good pow-wow in the middle of the sets and we worked it out. We made sure that we were talking more, in the back row especially. Once we cleaned up our errors, we found our groove and got back into it.”
Silver Creek senior Caitlin Volkmann, who is fifth in the state in kills and was named the MaxPreps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Week for the state of Colorado last week, added 21 kills on Tuesday night. She now has 175 through 10 matches this season. Raptors sophomore outside hitter Megan Sotiroff had 10.
Junior Payton Jonason, who leads the Trojans with 75 kills, had 12 kills on Tuesday night and sophomore Bridget Kusbel had eight blocks.
Tuesday’s win was the Raptors’ third in a row and kept them unbeaten in conference play while the loss snapped a four-match win streak for Longmont.
“We decided to make the adjustments the coaches were talking about and started believing in ourselves,” Trojans head coach Holli Stetson said. “We started playing with much more composure and with some fight. We have had several different lineup changes and we feel like we’re dialing in where we need to be. This was a great test for us and we’ll continue to make the adjustments we need to make and keep getting better.”
Silver Creek will continue conference play with a road match at Mountain View on Thursday. Also on Thursday, Longmont hosts Centaurus. Silver Creek and Longmont will face each other again on Oct. 17 at Longmont High.