EAST VAIL - Is it time for districts yet?
The Vail Mountain School volleyball team looks pretty ready to take on the world after downing cross-county rival Vail Christian, 25-18, 25-15, 25-13, Tuesday night in East Vail. That is seven wins in a row for VMS.
"We're at a point where we're making small adjustments," VMS coach Mike Garvey said. "The girls are learning something new from every practice, and we're seeing it in the games. I'm really pleased with the way they were working."
"Obviously, it feels great to win, especially against Vail Christian," the Gore Rangers' Stephanie Kohlhofer said. "We've been working real hard, and it's finally paid off. This is the first year."
Always trust a player in any rivalry to know who's won what. "The first year," of which Kohlhofer speaks, is VMS' first season sweep of the Saints since 2008, when the two teams only played one match.
"Vail Mountain School is tremendous. They have some tremendous hitters," Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. "Teams will cycle. Things go up and down. I have a lot of youth and a lot of age (not commensurate with playing experience). I'm not disappointed with the girls' effort whatsoever. They tried all the way through the last game. It's not lack of effort. Sometimes, we don't make the right decisions with the ball."
VMS (10-3 overall and 6-2 in the 2A Slope) took advantage of Vail Christian's mistakes, as good teams do, and put the ball down forcefully with its own attack.
"It feels great. We have a really good flow as a team," VMS' Lizzy Pancratz said. "Then, we get going."
VMS has just two league games left. The Gore Rangers are off this weekend and then are at West Grand on Thursday and home for Hayden on Friday. The next day, VMS is at a tournament at Summit County where the 2A Gore Rangers will tangle with the host 4A Tigers, Eagle Valley and Wheat Ridge.
Consider it a dress rehearsal for the district tournament.
"We consider ourselves a strong team," Garvey said. "We didn't play well in those matches against Paonia and Meeker, but the girls know that. They know they have another level, and they're ready to show that."
In the meantime, all is not lost for Vail Christian (7-9, 2-5). Remember, the Saints go down to Class 1A for the playoffs with Plateau Valley and Norwood. The Saints have already beaten the former and face the latter in their league match Oct. 19.
Vail Christian is at West Grand on Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.