GYPSUM — Eagle Valley played volleyball on Thursday, beating Grand Valley, 25-16, 25-10, 25-18, in the Devils home opener.
It’s just one more step on the road to whatever is normal after the team’s coach Garrett La Force died in an auto accident this summer.
“It’s so awesome because, after the tragedy, the school wanted to support us,” senior and middle-blocker Jaimee Rindy said. “We showed we’re not down. We’re not broken. We’re stronger. That’s what’s awesome about winning this game.”
As they took the court, all of the Devils slapped a sign, reading, “Expect More,” one of La Force’s slogans, and all were clad in flannel-style warm-ups as the coach liked his flannel.
Assistant coach Pat Sheehy even dressed up in a “Canadian tux,” all denim, as a playful tribute to La Force.
And, through all of this, it’s important to remember that the Devils are still playing — life does go on — and they happen to be playing well. Eagle Valley upped its record to 5-1 by pounding the Cardinals.
After displaying the understandable jitters of a home opener during the first set, the Devils got rolling in the second. Eagle Valley’s serving fired at will. Molly Jewitt ripped off 11 straight points from behind the line and Devon Green kept serving the Cardinals out of system, and Eagle Valley led, 16-1.
“Our girls were hitting every single target I was asking for,” Devils coach Lindsey Myers said. “Every single girl was serving in, which is all I could ask for, and they were serving tough. That’s what wins games.”
That will work, Coach.
Carlee Morrison ended the second stanza with an emphatic smash, and then Myers played with the lineup a bit in the third, a common practice.
“It’s really to challenge the team and challenge ourselves,” Myers said. “We want to build a well-rounded team, a team where everyone can play because that’s what we’re going to need in the postseason.”
And make no mistake, Eagle Valley is aiming high. Having played four of their first six games against 5A opponents with a 3-1 record, the 4A Devils feel they can make a run in the Slope.
Toward that end, the Devils host Delta on Thursday in the league opener.
“That’s our goal,” Rindy said. “We want to win league outright. We want to go to regionals and we are ready for it. We’re working hard and we’re going to work for it.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.