The Lady Indians were pushed Tuesday to five sets for the first time this season, but they didn’t seem fazed by it.
The Montrose High School volleyball team (4-0) was able to battle back to beat Palisade: 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 18-25, 15-10, at home.
“It was not a pretty match for either team,” said MHS coach Shane Forrest. “But we came out on top. And I think they really showed grit and determination and that winner-attitude.”
This was the first time this season Montrose dropped a set; it previously swept its first three opponents.
“I thought we put all we had into it,” said sophomore Taylor Foster. “There were some tough times but we really got through it and worked as a team.”
The team’s early success has been noticed statewide. The Lady Indians are currently sitting No. 10 in the volleyball rankings for Class 4A and first in RPI.
“It’s really exciting because that’s showing Montrose can play up to the Denver schools,” senior Ashlyn Manuel said.
She added she hopes the Lady Indians’ success can continue throughout the season, culminating with the team hosting regionals and a trip to the state tournament.
Despite the early season recognition, the team is not focused on that. In fact, it isn’t discussed either in the locker room or out at practice, said Forrest.
“There’s still a lot of matches to be played,” she said. “It feels really good to be there, but we’re not hanging our hat on it.”
Instead, the team is “working on working harder,” Forrest said with a laugh. In practice, the players are becoming aware of staying consistent and keeping a high level of energy all match long, she said.
“Throughout the season, we’re working on staying together as a team,” said Foster. “... We’re staying focused at practice, and lifting each other up.”
The Montrose athletes aren’t exactly strangers when it comes to battling for every point.
Forrest attributed to Montrose’s early hot start to the senior leadership as seven of them fill out this season’s roster. Their experience and maturity have helped the team stay focused on winning matches, she added.
The others on the roster — coincidentally all sophomores — are “incredible competitors” who have shown the will to win, said Forrest.
“That combination brings a unique blend to really help this team be successful,” she said.
Montrose faces a big test soon, when the team goes to the highly-competitive Lewis-Palmer Tournament, where some of the state’s best volleyball teams will battle.
The Lady Indians will play four games between Friday and Saturday with their first two being Platte Valley and Pueblo West on Friday.
Forrest said if Montrose could at least come away with a 2-2 record on the Front Range, then that will be a success.
“That’s where we’ll see how we stand with some of the better teams in the state,” the Montrose coach said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.