Rebels pass first test

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By Brian Forbes

Megan Koop and her Columbine teammates weren’t going to let a rare nonleague crowd go home disappointed Sept. 10. Even if it meant playing after knocking yourself loopy.

Koop banged her head hard enough on the floor against Cheyenne Mountain that the details got a little clouded. But the senior came back, just like the Rebels, as they overcame Class 4A powerhouse Cheyenne Mountain 25-17, 16-25, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12 in thrilling fashion.

“I knew I had to get back in there,” Koop said. “We had to get it done.”

The Rebels (3-0) got their first big test since advancing to the 5A state semifinals last season and passed. They had stretches of dominance and pulled away, and they suffered lulls of poor passing that put the Indians firmly in charge.

But with a large and vocal home crowd behind them, the Rebels rallied from an emotional loss in the third game to capture the last two games.

“I think the crowd helped us,” Hayes said. “We wanted to put on a show for the crowd.”

And what a show it was.

Hayes led the Rebels with 21 kills, Ellen Miks and Koop had 14 kills apiece, Aimee Thomas had five kills and three blocks, and Meaghan Lorenz had three kills, four assists and two blocks. Senior setter Alicia Dotson was the engine for the Rebels as she tossed up 45 assists.

Things ran smoothly for the Rebels in the first game as they broke a 2-2 tie and pulled away steadily, leading 19-11 before finishing the game 25-17 on Koop’s kill.

The Indians, who lost to Mountain View in the 2007 state final, answered in nearly identical fashion. The Indians broke an 8-8 tie to take a 20-14 lead. Rebels coach Kathy Miks called her second timeout of the game but the tide never turned as the Indians finish on a 5-2 run to win the game.

Columbine’s apparent answer in the third game crashed near the finish line. Columbine broke a 7-7 tie and stayed just ahead of the Indians until they were caught at 21-21. Ellen Miks tied the game 23-23 with a kill but the Indians would win the next point and win the game when Miks’ hit was blocked.

The Rebels, however, were convincing in the fourth game as they pulled ahead at 6-5 and poured it on. Miks and Koop had several big kills to set up the decisive fifth game.

Koop hit her head trying to chase down Holly Hutchinson’s kill and had to come out.

“I’m OK,” Koop said. “My head hurts really bad. I don’t know what happened. I just fell over a bit. Then I remember opening my eyes and looking at our trainer.”

The Rebels appeared to deflate a little and were down 6-2. But Koop returned as Miks earned a kill to tie the game 7-7.

Miks had two more huge kills, one to put the Rebels up 9-8, the other to make it 10-9 and give Columbine the lead for good.

Two hitting errors by the Indians, two kills by Koop and the final by Hayes would cap the dramatic victory.

“We all played together as a team and came together in the end,” Hayes said.