HIGHLANDS RANCH – The Legend Titans have spent some time at the top of the Class 5A CHSAANow.com volleyball rankings, but have since fallen back. Their path to get back to the top started with the No. 4-ranked Rock Canyon Jaguars.
In a game that seemed to come down to which team could go on a scoring run at the most crucial moment, the No. 9-ranked Titans beat Rock Canyon in a 3-1 win (25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 25-22), getting a much-need win over a top 10 team.
This was an important win for Legend whose coach Katie Winsor says is trying to finish 5-5 in their league.
"They did great," Windsor said. "We've been battling through some injures and sickness, so it's nice to have the girls really show up and play a little more like us."
The Titans (9-6 overall, 3-5 Continental League) most impressive and dominant performance was in the third set with multiple scoring runs that Rock Canyon (11-3, 5-2) couldn’t quite comeback from. Senior outside hitter Jordan Mullen scored on key plays that gave her team the momentum to put pressure on the Jaguars. Legend went on 4-0 run then shortly after a 5-0 run giving them 20-10 lead. The Titans finished strong winning the set 25-14.
"My goal was not to miss any serves and I actually missed one," Mullen said. "But, I made sure to keep my mental game strong which was the biggest thing for me. The mental game over the physical game was more important."
Rock Canyon came out strong the second set with a 4-0 run after being down 0-3 from the start. Sophomore outside hitter Keeley Davis displayed vicious strikes throughout the whole set that played a big part in her team's scoring.
The Jaguars went on another 5-0 run due to mistakes mainly made by the Titans. Rock Canyon jumped out to 14-8 lead before Legend rallied back, bringing the score within closer reach 14-12. The Jaguars were able to contain Legend from a comeback and finished the set strong 25-20.
"I think we did good but we were defeated most of the time," said Rock Canyon junior setter Skylar Lane. "I think our ultimate goal is to be league champs and its hard to finish that when we're defeated."
In the last set of the night Rock Canyon started off strong after losing the previous. The Jaguars looked to even the sets with a 6-3 lead. Once again, Legend went on scoring run taking the lead 10-9, and eventually expanding it to its biggest lead 22-16.
But Rock Canyon was not going out without a fight, going on a 3-0 run with the score to make it 22-19. Mullen hit a clutch strike that propelled her to finish aggressively winning the last set 25-22.
"I think we played well, definitely not at our best," Rock Canyon coach Angela Nylund-Hanson said. "We played really defeated especially in that third set. We kind of got out there and got too frustrated with ourselves and didn't really dig out. (We) came back in the fourth set and tried to turn things and around and we just couldn't pull through."
Rock Canyon will look to try and bounce back with a win after fall break when it plays Castle View.
"We are going to come out from break and come hard," Lane said. "Ready to practice hard and ready to play our hardiest game of the season."