WINDSOR, Colo. — For the 18-1 squad at Premier Volleyball Club (Fort Collins), the record will show a sweep of six contests last weekend at the Triple Crown Avalanche Havoc, part of its Colorado Tournament Series with final matches held at the Power2Play complex.
But that didn’t mean Premier swooped through the competition without a few challenges, as it took three sets to get past the Believe 18’s in the semifinals before outlasting a tough, tricky lineup from the FUNdamentals 18’s, 25-22, 22-25, 15-11, in Sunday’s title match.
Just walking the court, the Premier side seemed to have the physical advantage over FUNdamentals, and there was no particular surprise when Alexis Townsend’s kill for Premier made it 13-8 in Set 1. But FUNdamentals caught fire, took the lead, and made it clear that their hustle and impressive serving punch from Kyla Adams and Kendall Morrison would don’t go away quietly.
Premier came back to win the set but came up short in Set 2, forcing the title match to its full length.
“They are very scrappy, and it’s the type of team that will lull you into making your own mistakes,” said Premier coach Andy Gavaldon. “This being our first tournament this was our first bit of adversity, so we got back down to the basics, passing and communicating, and let our skills take over by the very end.
“We’ve got some good, skilled players at each position, and one aspect isn’t working well, we have other places to go to. We are well-rounded, and it will be fun coaching this team.”
Premier could certainly celebrate how it handled having to play a third set, as the lineup jumped to a 7-1 lead. A well-played assist from Avery Schneider for a kill off the swing of Kaitlynn Dean made it 10-4; FUNdamentals then answered with one more push, drawing closer at 11-7 on a kill from Ainsley Lynett.
With Adams making excellent shots, the lead got tight one last time, at 14-11, but Premier finished the debate as Schneider found Townsend for the final point.
“We had to work and find where they weren’t on the court, the placement. We went to the corners, and when they got to our hitting, we tried tipping and that seemed to work,” said Schneider, a senior at Roosevelt High School. “I feel more aggressive when I’m hitting and can actually score points, but I love setting. The feeling of allowing a hitter to get a kill is pretty much my favorite.”
“As a team, we talked about going short if they were staying back … that’s a very scrappy team, and we had to just get after it and out the ball down,” said Townsend, a junior at Fort Collins High School. “We have players who can move in and out if we get in a rut, and we are good at grinding it out.”
Avery May came through with some important aces for Premier.