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Volleyball falls to Sun Devils in season opener

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By Alissa Noe

EVERGREEN — Clear Creek volleyball is a brand new team this year.

For the past four years, the class of 2018 ran the show on the court. But, with the exit of seven seniors in May, the Golddiggers will have many new faces leading the charge this season.

On Thursday night on their own home court, the Golddiggers put on a valiant effort in their first game of the new school year, but it wasn’t enough to edge out visiting Kent Denver in the end. Despite a second-game comeback, Clear Creek eventually fell 3-1.

“Unfortunately, they don’t get four years like the other girls did to learn to grow as a team,” head coach Karin Thomsen said. “We’ve got a couple seniors, a couple juniors that want it this year, so the things they know they’ve got to get better at, they’re willing to work on it at practice.”

In the first game, the Diggers came out a bit rusty as many teams do in their first matchups of a new season in any sport. Although Clear Creek managed to keep it close until the midway point, the Sun Devils ignited a seven-point streak to put the Diggers away and won, 25-11.

In the second game, Clear Creek came out with a new fire and a far more effective communication system, and wouldn’t take any flak from Kent. The Diggers tied up the match at 1-1, defeating the Sun Devils 25-16.

After that, it all fell apart for Clear Creek, as the Sun Devils took the next two games, 25-16 and 25-15, to finish out the match.

“I think we came together as a team a little more in (the second game), so that was what I liked,” sophomore libero Zeda Taylor said, noting how that quickly went south following her team’s short-lived victory. “I think we stopped communicating. We got down on ourselves, and that’s why we kind of stopped talking to each other.”

Volleyball can be, at times, a game of psychological taunts, both from the opponents and from the self. Against Kent, the Diggers got in their own heads, but they wouldn’t let that stop them from playing their hearts out through a number of long, arduous volleys.

“They were allowing the coachable moments to happen,” Thomsen said. “They tried to learn from the things that weren’t working so well and they still can’t apply all that yet, but they’re processing that and it’s coming.”

The Diggers will face their next test at West Grand in Kremmling at noon on Friday. With a brand new membership in the Mile High League to tread through over the next few months — meaning new opponents — they’ll have plenty of room to grow and discover their true identity as a team.

“With a new league, we don’t really know how we’ll fit in yet, so we’re not sure, but we believe in each other, and we will get better because of that,” Thomsen said. “When they learn to form and norm, then we’re going to storm.”