Summit volleyball dominates Kent Denver |

Summit volleyball dominates Kent Denver

FARMER’S KORNER – What started as a going away party for KYSL’s Jim Williams turned, much to Williams delight, into a routing of Kent Denver Tuesday night.

After a touching tribute to the popular radio personality by several Summit High coaches, the Lady Tigers volleyball players each presented him with a pink, long-stem rose. Then Williams called Tigers play-by-play for the last time as the home team matched a powerful offense with an organized defense to win in straight sets.

“We’re only going to get more intense,” Stephanie Von Normann said.

Von Normann returned to the lineup in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Aspen after taking 10 days off to mend a sprained ankle. Von Normann had 10 kills, some of which made the Kent Denver girls look like they stood still.

“It just completes everything,” said Lindsay Rappleye, whose outside attacks complimented Von Normann and made the nervousness of the Tigers’ two opening losses a distant memory.

“The drills we’ve been doing in practice have been coming together, and it obviously shows,” Julie Wallace said.

The first game opened with an ace from Emily Baker. Initially, the pace was tight as the teams split the first 22 points of the match.

But Summit started to pull ahead when Von Normann announced her authority with a powerful kill only a few seconds after entering the game. When Emilee Sandsmark made a dramatic, sprawling dig to keep the ball in play, this team proved it was coming together. A few minutes later, the Tigers walked off the court with a 25-19 victory.

Game 2 started with an aggressive play by the Sun Devils and their only lead of the match. But, on both of the serves that Kent Denver had while leading, Julie Wallace stepped up with two kills, and the Tigers’ scoring runs started. Ten minutes later, the Tigers’ captured a 25-16 win.

Rappleye came on strong in Game 3. Sets from Emily Baker on the outside to Rappleye led to kill after kill after kill. Despite a couple of scrappy saves by the Sun Devils, Rappleye and Cardamon fortified the outside and Von Normann and Erica Nourse all kept punching the kills for a 25-21 win.

Two more aces from Baker didn’t hurt, either.

Von Normann’s presence is a welcome addition to a team that was already showing promise after defeating Battle Mountain in straight sets on Sept. 4. The girls have not lost a game, much less a match, since their shaky 0-2 start against Faith Christian and Denver Christian.

Sandsmark had a tough defensive match, making 23 digs. Emily Cardamon was right behind her with 16, while Rappleye and Baker broke double digits with 11 and 10.

Rappleye finished the match with five kills, but her 13 attacks kept the Sun Devils guessing.

“We’re coming into a groove,” head coach Darren Buckner said. “It’s very nice. Something clicked between Denver Christian and Battle Mountain.”

Buckner noticed that the team’s defense and serving were becoming more consistent.

The Tigers are heading to Denver to play four matches at the Machebeuf Tournament on Saturday. The first match, against Clear Creek, is at 9 a.m.

Buckner believes, however, that the girls will face one of their biggest tests of the season against Goodland, Kan., that afternoon.

“They are legit,” Buckner said.

The Lady Tigers are back at Summit High on Tuesday to play a league match against Conifer at 7 p.m.

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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