Tigers tame Cougars in three games

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By Chaz Hudd

The Cougars battled hard on their home court but were unable to overcome Lakewood on Sept. 4 in a nonleague volleyball game.

Evergreen slipped to 1-6 on the young season, falling in three games 25-21, 21-16, 21-19.

Evergreen played a spirited match but ultimately were unable to overcome Lakewood’s tall and talented front line. Lauren Lind, Rachel Gilchrist, Shayne Brown and Katie Rosa led the hit brigade as the Class 5A Tigers notched the win over their 4A opponents.

“I’m actually really pleased with the girls,” Evergreen coach Katie Ryan said. “Our last two matches (including a Sept. 2 loss to former league rival Ralston Valley, who has moved up to 5A this year) we have played well against two very tough teams.”

Lakewood opened up a seemingly commanding 19-12 lead in the first set before the Cougars rallied behind the serving of Kate Oakes to close within 21-18.Costly mistakes at the worst possible time did in Evergreen as three missed serves and an errant kill attempt provided the opponent’s final four points.

“We need to be more consistent,” Ryan said. “Unforced errors just killed us.”

The Tigers notched the first six points of set two and never looked back. Evergreen played well in the middle portion of the set before again turning sloppy late and fell 21-16.

Game three was deadlocked at 11 before Lakewood scored five of the next six points. Nicole Gruber had three kills down the stretch for the home team but Lakewood was too tough, holding on to win the game 21-19 and the match, three games to none.

Evergreen has faced a rough schedule in the early going, but hopes the experience will pay off when league play begins.

“I wanted to play top teams before we begin league because that is how you improve,” Ryan said. “The girls have responded well and shown a lot of fight. Our front row players (Oakes, Katie Helf, Gruber, Jessica Wolverton, Abbie Krane) can play any position so we are able to make better adjustments. Our defense needs work and we need to be more consistent.”

Evergreen played in the Machebeuf Tournament on Sept. 6, winning one match while dropping three other tight matches. The Cougars played at Faith Christian Sept. 9 and will travel to Englewood on Sept. 11.