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Swings of emotion

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By Dan Johnson

Columbine volleyball players ran the gamut of emotions in a 48-hour stretch.

First up were the non-desired emotions of anger and frustration after taking one on the chin in a four-game home loss to Lakewood on Sept. 30 that could potentially keep the Rebels from a three-peat as Class 5A Jefferson County League champions.

After sulking and stewing for a day, the Rebels returned to their home floor on Oct. 2 and took out their frustrations of the Lakewood loss on Bear Creek, winning the Jeffco League match in three games 25-12, 25-9, 25-8.

The one-sided win was exactly what the Rebels (4-1 Jeffco, 12-2 overall) needed to clear their minds from the disappointment of not playing their best volleyball against Lakewood.

What also helped lighten the mood a bit was Columbine’s involvement in charity work. For the second straight year, the team took part in helping raise awareness for Jeffco Action Center.

“These girls are all very fortunate to play volleyball, a sport they love,” said Columbine coach, Kathy Miks, whose team is taking part in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s “Think Pink” week, which helps support Breast Cancer research. “They have so many people supporting them, it’s nice for them to be able to give something back to the community.”

On the court, players were proficient in all areas, and as a result of their solid play, were able to be loose and routinely flash gaping smiles. On the bench, Miks kept the light-hearted theme going, even going so far as to wield a toy sword towards the end of the match.

“We just wanted to come back strong after that loss,” said senior Randee Hayes, who scored 17 service points and had 10 kills against Bear Creek. “We came out and played a lot better than we did against Lakewood. We worked a lot on our serving in practice before this game and it paid off.”

With Hayes serving, Columbine ripped off nine straight points in the opening game to pull ahead 14-5. They went on to score 11 of the next 17 points to take the game. Games two and three were routes from the beginning, with the Rebels jumping out to early leads each time.

Hayes, Ellen Miks, Alicia Dotson (27 assists) and Megan Koop dominated up front against Bear Creek, in stark contrast to the Lakewood match, where it was the hitting and blocking of the Tigers that swung momentum Lakewood’s way.

After dropping the opening game 25-21, Lakewood (5-0, 14-1) began winning the battle at the net and the Rebels were never able to recover, dropping the final three games by a combined 75-52 margin.

“They played good and we didn’t,” Kathy Miks said. “They were in-system most of the match and were able to use their big middles. We struggled passing and were out-of-system and so (we) were easy to defend. We had too many unforced errors.”

Miks said that the loss should only serve to re-focus a Columbine team that has serious state title aspirations after reaching the state semifinals a year ago.

“Yes, (the Lakewood loss) really hurt,” Miks said. “I doubt our team slept very well (after the match). We don’t want to feel this way again, knowing that we could have done better. We know what we need to work on and I believe that the team will refocus and bounce back stronger than ever.”