by Kyle Koso
With all the options in their tool kit, the NORCO 17-2 volleyball squad is fixing to have a memorable run this club season.
Showing careful touch when needed and imposing strength when available, the NORCO team won all seven of its matches this weekend at the Avalanche Havoc, the debut event of the Colorado Tournament Series, powered by Triple Crown Sports and hosted at NORCO’s facility in northeast Loveland. The championship match with Shockwave 17-1 saw NORCO close with a 25-22, 25-14 victory.
In the 14 sets played, NORCO allowed opponents to reach the 20’s on just two occasions, pretty sturdy work at the front end of the club campaign.
“There is so much talent on this team; NORCO fields great teams at every level, but we feel we are a 1’s team anywhere else,” said head coach Erin Pavlin. “So the question is, will everyone buy into the system and each other in this process? That’s how far we’ll go, but there’s talent, especially on the pins - I have pins who can terminate everywhere.”
Set 1 against Shockwave was a tight affair and tied 20-20 when setter Emma Grace hit not one but two perfect short serves for aces, just slipping the ball over the net. Things were polished off by a noisy kill from Nicole Grove, with libero Taylor Tyser always in the right spot to make things work defensively.
“I wish I could take all the (serving) credit, but I’m getting awesome zones from my coaches, and all the information they provide has been huge for me and my teammates,” said Grace, 16, who attends Fossil Ridge High School. “We didn’t know what to expect, it being our first time together, so it was a weekend to try things out, and it worked out real well.”
“Emma is probably our most consistent server; if I give her a spot I’m confident she will hit it,” Pavlin added. “That type of point is so hard on the team it gets score on, and it’s amazing for the team that scores. To get that little separation there at the end got us in relaxed and then swinging hard in system.”
Grace had a superior dig on a tough ball in Set 2 that allowed NORCO to take 16-11 lead, and many other players were contributing big shots along the way. Dylanne Hardy had two kills that pushed the lead to 18-12, and both Ella Grimes and Skye Vancil were especially productive as NORCO made sure there would be no rally.
“We have expectations, and this is a good team with a lot of talent. I’m happy for the wins,” said Grove, who also attends Fossil Ridge. “I love playing with Emma; she’s a great setter and will push the ball outside when you don’t expect it, and can get you some one-on-ones. I can trust her every time.”
The Pikes Peak bracket was won by Premier 17; Spikes 14Z won the Longs Peak bracket and Spikes 15 Camilla prevailed in the Horsetooth bracket.
The next event in the Colorado Tournament Series will be the Mile High Madness, set for Jan. 15-16.