Eagle Valley volleyball looks for an encore at state | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley volleyball looks for an encore at state

It's all about getting back to the Denver Coliseum.

Eagle Valley volleyball got there last year for the first time since 2010. The Devils don't want to wait another six years.

The gym's been busy in Gypsum this summer with old a new Devils taking part in voluntary workouts. Eagle Valley's had as many 55 athletes participating in those sessions.

The future is clearly bright for the Devils, but so is the present.

Comings and goings

Coach Jackie Rindy's squad went 22-5 last fall, thundering through the 4A Slope with a 12-0 mark. The Devils lost two to graduation and they are a big two — setter Molly Jewett and outside-hitter/middle-blocker Kylie Martin.

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Jewett was the coach on the floor, fueling the Devils' attack, while Martin has been a mainstay at the net. They also provided vocal leadership for the team last year. This year's seniors will need to step up in leadership, according to Rindy — in fairness, the Class of 2018 leads with its play as opposed to its words — but that should come along.

Erin Keeney saw time at setter during the late part of the regular season, so she's not coming into the role as a newbie.

While Martin is gone, the Devils do not lack on the attack. Becy Glutova and Emma Lassa are a powerful 1-2 punch. They hit the ball and it stays hit.

Elysse Fitzpatrick grew in the middle-blocker position last season, so she's a welcome returnee.

Look for Shelbi Lubbers to take on a bigger role in 2017, and coach Rindy also hinted that newcomer Bree Gates could make some noise.

And, while the attack is gaudy, the ball needs to go forward first. Sydney Manzanares and Hayley Carpenter return at defensive specialist, while Jillian Byron remains at libero. It's a fortunate team to have defenders like those three.

The Slope

Eagle Valley will have a bull's eye on its collective back within the league, having run the table last fall. Palisade and Steamboat Springs are always a factor, as is archrival Battle Mountain.

With an eye toward the rating-percentage index, the Devils head down to the Front Range for the Regis Jam Tournament in September and to Evergreen for another tourney in late October. Of course, Evergreen beat Eagle Valley with a state bid on the line in 2015, while the Devils returned the favor last fall.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

Jones wins at Cederedge

Get used to it — Eagle Valley golf’s Barrett Jones won his first tournament of the season on Thursday, posting a 3-under 69 at the Cedaredge Bruin Invitational.

The senior, who tied for seventh at state last season has big plans for 2017. The Devils finished third out of 11 teams with Garrett Slaagen carding a 92 and Jake Gill a 97.

Battle Mountain finished fifth with Jack Overly and Parker Woods firing 88s, and Tyler Perry starting the season with an 89.

Both teams head to Delta today for a round at Devil’s Thumb.