WOODLAND PARK • Both undefeated and eager for their first big challenge of the year, Coronado and Woodland Park girls’ volleyball faced off Tuesday in a 5A/4A CSML South battle for the top spot in the league standings — and it didn’t disappoint.

After four exciting sets, Coronado came out on top, winning the match 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22).

“I would play them day, after day, after day,” said Coronado coach Don Lash. “We would both get better. ... You don’t know what you are going to be like when you face a really solid team, and this helps us immensely.”

Coronado entered the Woodland Park gym with a 4-0 record — all won in straight sets. While Woodland Park, 6-0 at the time, had lost just one set through the first half of the season.

Following a 25-18 win in the first set, however, Coronado suffered its first set loss, 25-23 to Woodland Park. The Panthers trailed by five points midway through, but a short run late in the set, and a set-point kill by Allie Tring sealed the set win.

While Woodland Park couldn’t force a fifth set versus Coronado, Panthers coach Stacy Roshek said she hoped that second set would give her team confidence moving forward, already eyeing their rematch April 22.

“It showed a lot of heart and determination,” Roshek said. “Knowing they can beat them in one set after being down is good for their morale and mentality so hopefully when we play them again they will remember that and remember they can beat them.”

Woodland Park’s stellar defense helped the Panthers claim the second set, and kept them on pace with Coronado through the final two frames — but also gave the Cougars a first taste of a truly tough defensive effort.

“At first (their defense) it was a little bit, not frustrating, but just new for the season because we are not used to it,” said senior Makayla Brown. “So we just had to figure it out. I think we really used our shots well and that kind of saved us.”

Brown had two set-winning kills and countless other momentum-driven plays as she radiated energy on the Coronado side of the court.

“She brings a ton of energy,” Lash said. “She is vocal, she is encouraging, she helps her teammates to be better. And she hits a hard ball, but she also tips and finds her spots — she just knows how to score.”

Tring led Woodland Park with 13 kills. Trinity Mcabee, Grace McClintock and Kyra Kidd had 10 each, and Sydney Roshek had two aces.

Contact the writer: lindsey.smith@gazette.com

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