CENTERVIEW – Crest Ridge volleyball’s postseason run came to an end at the hands of a conference rival on Saturday, Nov. 2, in front of a packed home gym.
The Lady Cougars took the first set from Santa Fe in the Class 1 quarterfinals before dropping the final two sets, falling to the Chiefs 2-1 (25-20, 22-25, 14-25).
“We talked about giving everything you have and leaving with no regrets and the girls did that,” Crest Ridge coach Katie Woolsey said. “They gave everything they had.”
The Lady Cougars never trailed in the opening set, opening up a 10-5 lead on Santa Fe, who swept Crest Ridge twice in the regular season.
“It’s huge as far as we know what they do, we know what we have to stop and know what we need to do, it’s just a matter of which teams and players get it done,” Woolsey said on facing a conference foe in the state playoffs.
Santa Fe tied the first set three times, the last at 20-20 before Reagan Shippy provided back-to-back kills to start a 5-0 run to end the set.
Crest Ridge faced its first deficit of the quarterfinals, falling behind 6-5 to Santa Fe in set two. The Lady Cougars slipped behind 13-8 before trimming the deficit down to two, 14-12, on a kill by Shippy.
Two points would be as close as Crest Ridge would get in the set, reaching the mark multiple times, but couldn’t get back to even, dropping the second set 25-22.
“I felt like we lost a little bit of that aggressiveness,” Woolsey said. “They were more aggressive and put the ball down and we didn’t do that as much.”
The Chiefs ran away with the final set to end the Lady Cougars season at 25-7-3.
“At this point, if it can’t be us, we are happy for them because someone from our conference is going on and will represent us well in the state playoffs is pretty awesome,” Woolsey said.
Crest Ridge’s appearance in the state quarterfinals is the furthest the Lady Cougars have been in the state tournament since 2003, when they finished fourth in Class 1.
Senior Kenna Brandes finished the year with her best performance as a Lady Cougar, rebreaking her own school record for digs with 36.
“It hurts right now because we know we were so close to the final four, but big picture, they are going to look back and realize this was an incredible season,” Woolsey said.
Crest Ridge 2, Bishop LeBlond 1
Crest Ridge notched a 2-1 (25-16, 21-25, 26-24) win over Bishop LeBlond in the sectional round to move on to the night cap.
The Lady Cougars jumped out to an early lead in front of their home crowd, doubling up the Lady Eagles, 13-6. LeBlond battled all the way back to within three, 18-15, only for Crest Ridge to end the set on a 6-1 run to take the set 25-16.
“Once we won district, we weren’t just happy to be here, we were going to compete, but the reality is, anything else is icing on the cake at this point,” Woolsey said.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 6-1 lead in set two, then survived 5-0 run Crest Ridge
LeBlond broke an 11-11 tie with a 3-0 run and never trailed after that. The Lady Cougars got within two, 23-21, in the waning points of the match, but LeBlond held fast to its lead, claiming the second set 25-21 to force what would be a thrilling third and decisive set.
Crest Ridge once again got out to a strong start, leading 5-1 early in the third set only for LeBlond to work its way into a 14-14. Crest Ridge rallied to open up a 21-16 lead.
The Lady Eagles had one final run in them, battling all the way back to tie the set at 21-21.
Crest Ridge and LeBlond went back-and-forth in the final three points, eventually coming to a 24-24 tie.
The Lady Cougars broke the tie with a kill by Shippy then ended the match with a kill from Kyla Brandes, who finished the game with 13 kills.
“Kyla Brandes played phenomenal,” Woolsey said. “I know she had some errors in set three against Santa Fe, but like I told her, we wouldn’t have even been in that match if it wasn’t for her play against LeBlond.”
Montana Mistler finished with 22 assists, the second most recorded in a game by a Lady Cougar.