EDWARDS - It's good to win, and sometimes, it's still good when you don't.
Vail Mountain School volleyball swept cross-county rival Vail Christian in a match that left both coaches smiling.
Vail Mountain won, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.
It's good to both give and receive, or so it would seem. The Saints opened leads of two or three points, and a combination of unforced errors and aggressive VMS net play made those leads only slightly less temporary than a Mitt Romney opinion poll lead.
"It was a night that we knew we have to play consistently to win," VMS coach Mike Garvey said.
All 10 Gore Rangers saw action, and they needed them all, he said.
"We win as a team, and we lose as a team," Garvey said.
Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander was upbeat and praised her team's progress.
"We were fighting hard, and we knew we needed to," Alexander said. "We need to break through and win a match against a tough opponent, and that will give us the confidence to keep winning."
Still, Alexander was smiling when she emerged from the Saints' locker room.
"It's the best match we've played all year. We're improving every time we take the floor, and that sort of consistency is important as the season continues," Alexander said.
After VMS won that first game, 25-16, the second and third saw the two sides swapping leads as grudgingly as political candidates swap donor lists.
Vail Christian's Gracen McGuckin drilled a kill and Kristen Currey added another to put Vail Christian on top for the first time in the match, 9-8. Kierra Kalakawich dinked one into a gap for an 11-9 Saints lead.
VMS clawed to a 20-18 lead, and it looked like they'd cruise to the win. But the Saints' Currey hammered home a kill and then another to keep the Saints alive, 24-21.
A pair of unforced Vail Christian errors closed out the second game, 25-22.
Vail Christian jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the third set, VMS evened it at 4-4, and so it went through most of the third game.
A rally that featured more spirited dialogue than a Hemingway novel ended when Monika Gehl blocked a kill to pull VMS to within one at 13-12. Gehl followed it with a service ace to even the third game at 13-13.
VMS sophomore Katherine Bolyard evened it at 14-14, McGuckin's kill down the sideline made it 15-14, Vail Christian added three, and VMS countered with three of its own and then two more for a 21-19 lead. The Gore Rangers' Ellen Edgerton's service ace ended it, 25-22, for the VMS sweep.
Taylor Alexander had two service aces and two kills for the Saints, McGuckin had six kills, Currey had six kills, Paris Baker had five, and Kalakawich had four.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.