KREMMLING - Please let the record note that Vail Mountain School coach Mike Garvey all but called this. And, also let the record note, that he did it in kind of quiet way because VMS coaches do not comport themselves with the braggadocio of Joe Namath.
Go back to the Gore Rangers' second matchup with Vail Christian on Oct. 9.
"We consider ourselves a strong team," Garvey said at the time. "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."
Paonia and Meeker were VMS' two losses in 2A Slope play, and the Gore Rangers avenged those two defeats Saturday on their way to 2A District 5 Tournament title. VMS went 5-0 this weekend to up its record to 18-6. And VMS will be hosting regionals on Saturday as a reward.
"I think it was that all 10 players every night had to become comfortable with their roles," Garvey said Saturday. "Everyone's role were equal in value, but not in playing time. Once the girls on the bench knew they were working with the players on the floor and vice versa, it happened."
The Gore Rangers swept Hotchkiss and Hayden Friday in pool play and ended up winning their division with a five-game victory over Rangely. That set up Saturday's semifinal against Paonia, which VMS won in four.
Behind the scenes, the Gore Rangers were all working toward one goal. At outside hitter, Stephanie Kohlhofer and Lizzy Pancratz were switching in and out. On both days, Kolhofer knocked them down during the morning games, while Pancratz did the same in the afternoon.
The same went for Lizzie Bolyard and Erica Charles at right-side hitter and setters Sierra Brill and Taylor Washing.
"Whoever was asked, they responded," Garvey said.
And everyone chipped in during the final, a 25-22, 20-25, 26-24, 20-25, 15-11 win over Meeker.
VMS will host Paonia and the second-place team from the San Juan League (still to be determined) in Saturday's regional tournament.
Saints grab spot
OLATHE - It's been a year of change for Vail Christian volleyball, but one thing remains the same - the Saints are advancing in the postseason.
After two-consecutive trips to the 1A state tournament followed by the graduation of the heart of those squads, the Saints were meant to be rebuilding in 2012.
They are, but just on the fly.
Vail Christian went 2-1 this weekend at the Class 1A District 1 Tournament this weekend and grabbed the third and final ticket to regionals from the field.
"These girls have worked very hard to create their own identity," Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. "I'm just very proud of them."
The Saints split pool play, beating Ouray, but falling to Norwood. That set up a winner take-all match with North Park. Naturally, the Saints fell behind, 2-0, before rallying for a 16-25, 14-25, 25-20, 25-12, 15-13 win.
"We had some fifth games which we've won and some we've lost," Alexander said. "They worked really hard and saw it pay off."
Vail Christian, owners of 10-12 record, mostly against 2A or higher competition, heads to Norwood this weekend to face the aforementioned Mavericks as well as La Veta.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.