Pass, set, spike, win.
The Telluride High School volleyball team is making a point this season with fundamentals.
The Miners, with a blend of new players and returners, are off to a sizzling start to the fall season.
A workmanlike 3-0 win at Ridgway on Friday night was followed by a hard-fought 3-2 win at Ignacio on Saturday, boosting the Telluride volleyball team to 9-2 — their best early season mark in a decade.
“They are extremely focused, extremely hard-working and extremely passionate — they really want (to win),” said Telluride head coach Rhea de Pagter, who said the Miners are still a young team.
“We have one senior on the varsity squad. We do have a very talented junior class,” she said. “It’s really nice to have talented freshmen and sophomores to fill things out.”
She said the team has concentrated on aggressive serving and effective passing.
Both were on display in Ridgway, when the Miners shut down the Demons 3-0 (25-23, 25-10, 25-18).
Dynamic jump serving by sophomore Emery Berry pulled Telluride back from a deficit in the opening set.
Senior Danika Petit, the team leader in kills, was joined by juniors Bella Galbo and Morgan Watkinson, sophomores Berry and All Tealdi, and freshman Emma Righetti in the starting lineup.
The Miners’ rotation this year has included juniors Kyra Levan, Brooke Shifrin, Kendall Ballode and Melena Krownapple.
“They are all really stepping up this year,” de Pagter said, adding that the mix of youth and experience is also valuable in building the future of the program.
Ridgway challenged the Miners behind the likes of Geri June Hall, Michaela Messer, Shelby Sisler, Jenna Brown, Emily Medina and Cass Rickers.
Sophomores Isabella Janda and Sara Messer also are on the Ridgway (1-7) varsity team this year.
Telluride had to go five sets in the win over No. 7 Ignacio. The Miners won the opening two sets, 25-21, 25-21.
Ignacio took the next two sets, setting up a deciding set to 15 points.
Telluride pulled out the dramatic 15-11 victory to take the San Juan Basin League victory. The Miners are 3-1 in conference, along with their 9-2 overall mark.
The Telluride girls scored early victories over larger schools like Moffat County, Rangely, Hotchkiss and Roaring Fork.
Their first San Juan Basin League loss came at highly regarded Dolores. The Bears, behind 6-foot-2 standout Jordan Elder, edged the Miners 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 18-25, 25-23).
The Telluride volleyball team also has enjoyed strong fan support both at home and away. A large Telluride crowd traveled to Ridgway for the match against the Demons.
“I think everyone is very excited about this season. They’re excited to watch the girls play,” de Pagter said, appreciative of the backing. “Everyone can see they have great chemistry out there. It’s fun to watch them.”
The Telluride volleyball team will return to action this week with matches at Ouray Thursday and at home against DeBeque on Saturday. The Miners will host Ridgway on Tuesday. The final match of the regular season will be a showdown against Dolores in Telluride on Oct. 26.
Denver Christian continues to lead the statewide Class 2A volleyball poll on chsaanow.com. Limon is No. 2 with Union Colony Prep of Greeley No. 3.
Meeker is ranked fourth this week; Wiggins is fifth.
Fowler, Ignacio, Rye, West Grand (Kremmling) and Sedgwick County (Julesburg) round out the top 10.
Telluride is listed among schools also receiving votes in the 2A statewide poll.