Although it was only the first game of the season, Montrose High School volleyball coach Shane Forrest was impressed on how sharp her Lady Indians looked Thursday night.
The Lady Indians took down the visiting Gunnison Cowboys in straight sets: 25-19, 25-8, 25-12, during their season-opener at home.
“They just did a lot of great things this early in the season in terms of passing, defense and blocking,” Forrest said. “I was happy with them.”
Outside hitter Kelsey Rocco led the way, finishing with a double-double of 12 kills and 13 digs to go along with six aces. The Montrose sophomore credited her strong night to the high-energy the crowd brought in.
“It really helps you focus on your game,” Rocco said.
“She’s really fearless,” Forrest said of Rocco. “She’ll keep out it and grind away.”
Madison Satterly and Caraline Burwell also helped the offense as both ended up with nine and five kills, respectively. Meanwhile, Ashlyn Manuel was effective on defense with 13 digs and added three aces.
Montrose started the first set strong going up 9-3 early. Despite getting a bigger lead later in the game, Gunnison came back late, cutting the deficit to 23-18.
Forrest called a timeout to stop the Cowboys’ momentum, which helped as the Lady Indians were able to pull off the first set win.
The second game was all Montrose from the beginning. The home team led by double-digits at 15-5 and kept up that pace.
Forrest said the dominant second set came down to the players’ chemistry and communication skills.
“During those moments as a coach you watch because it’s working and there’s not a lot that you can do except to sit back and enjoy the show,” Forrest said.
But, in the third set, the Cowboys looked like initially, they could push the match to four games as they took an early 6-2 advantage.
Despite this, the Lady Indians went on a 7-2 run to take the lead for good before winning the final set by double-digits.
Forrest said she believes this match can show the players that they have the potential to go far this season if they play each game with confidence like the Lady Indians did Thursday.
“There are some things that we can work on and improve,” the Montrose coach said. “We can’t think this is the peak of our season because there’s a lot more to go.”
Up next, Montrose will travel up north to battle the Delta Panthers at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter@andrew_kpress.