EDWARDS — Turnaround complete ... almost.
In the span of three seasons, Battle Mountain volleyball has gone from the basement of the 4A Slope to a title. The Huskies clinched their crown with a 25-18, 20-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-9 marathon win over Eagle Valley in Edwards Saturday.
“I knew we were near the lead,” Huskies senior middle-blocker Tesha Olson said when she found out.
It’s Battle Mountain’s first volleyball title since 2007, which was also the last year the school headed to the Denver Coliseum for state. And while the league is nice, state is the goal, so there wasn’t much of a celebration.
Huskies work for it
The Devils made the Huskies work for it in what was one of the more memorable rivalry volleyball matches of late. Eagle Valley really looked like it had Battle Mountain on the ropes after winning the fourth game. One of the reasons was a shift to a two-setter offense (Megan Asmusssen and freshman Molly Jewitt).
“That helped us out because we always had three attackers,” Eagle Valley coach Garrett La Force said.
“I like their change to the 6-2 offense,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “It gives them a much more diverse attack. They did a much better job of hitting the ball off our block. They moved the ball around well against us that way.”
With long rallies and both teams doing a nice job of containing the other’s primary offensive threat — the Devils blocked LaRose Currie, while the Huskies occasionally denied Lacey Gerard — each side was spent by the fifth.
“We came together and we all just looked at each other,” Olson said. “Our coach said some things that were really positive. ‘You deserve to be here. I chose you because you deserve to play. You deserve to play on the court together. It’s our time.’”
Devils lose the lead
The Devils built a 5-3 lead in the final set before Currie got rolling from behind the line. Olson had a big block and Taylor Anderson chipped in a point for an 8-5 Huskies’ advantage. Eagle Valley’s Jaimee Rindy pulled her team within 12-9 before the Huskies finally pulled away.
In an interesting quirk of the schedule, the two teams may meet again at next weekend’s tourney at Summit County. But either way, the Devils (9-4 overall and 8-3 in the Slope) know they can play with just about anybody.
“It’s good to see that because we have a lot of competition coming up in the next couple of weeks,” La Force said. “We could see them again at the Summit tournament next week, if everything aligns correctly. Then we got the Cheyenne Mountain tournament with a bunch of playoff contenders. It’s nice to know we can fight with the best of them. Today, it didn’t fall our way, but it doesn’t mean that won’t be the case next weekend.”
Battle Mountain (12-1, 9-0) is at Delta Monday and at Coal Ridge Tuesday before next weekend’s tournament.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.