GYPSUM — Last year, Eagle Valley volleyball went 5-17. Tuesday, the Devils picked up their sixth win with a 25-22, 25-15, 6-25, 25-13 victory over Palisade to begin the Homecoming festivities in Gypsum.
In fact, don’t look now, but Eagle Valley has burst into second place in the 4A Slope halfway through league play.
“It’s a pretty good feeling because I’m a senior and it’s my last year here with all the girls, and all of us are mainly seniors,” senior Roxy Trotter said. “So it’s good to see how we’re coming together as a team this year. It’s just really exciting.”
Trotter, who is probably better known for her skills in the 800 meters come spring, was running circles around Palisade on Tuesday, leading the team in kills and hitting efficiency.
And very quietly, the Devils are 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the Slope. More importantly than the records is the fact that Eagle Valley is No. 26 in the maxpreps.com poll. The top-36 teams in 4A advance to regionals at the end of the season.
“I think the energy is so much better this year,” Trotter said. “It’s not like we didn’t want to win last year. We’re coming out with the notion that it’s our last year. We have to go to state. We’re pushing.”
Against Palisade (4-10, 2-4), the Devils used one of the qualities that first-year coach Garrett La Force said he really likes about his team at the rough halfway mark of the season. Eagle Valley didn’t look at Palisade’s record. Instead, the Devils went to work.
One of Eagle Valley’s best weapons was the quick set. Setter Megan Asmussen, with all of Eagle Valley’s weapons arrayed at the net, would dish the ball quickly to junior Jaimee Rindy, who put it down with authority.
“It is my favorite,” Rindy said. “It’s my consistent ball. It’s where we go back to when we need a kill. Blockers usually can’t block it, and defenders, unless they’re really on their toes, can’t defend it.”
Like any good hitter, Rindy gave out props to Asmussen and freshman Molly Jewett, who moved up to varsity for the match, for the good sets.
The Devils rode to a 2-0 lead before using Game 3 to tinker with the lineup. Palisade adjusted accordingly, winning the third 25-6. Eagle Valley, however, closed the door emphatically. Ashley Newborn had a tremendous run of serving, sending the Devils out to a 13-3 lead. Tiffany Sheehy had several big points during that stretch. Sheehy followed with a serving binge which all but closed it out with Lacey Gerard doing major damage up front.
As the Devils open the second half of league play at Glenwood Springs on Thursday and at Delta Saturday, La Force says his team needs to take the next step.
“We really need to work on our consistency,” the coach said. “We can’t use the excuse that we’re a new team any more.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.