Huskies slam Lady Panthers in three games | VailDaily.com

Huskies slam Lady Panthers in three games

Ian Cropp

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyBattle Mountain's Allie O'Connor returns a hit Saturday against Delta in Eagle-Vail.

EAGLE-VAIL – Put the Battle Mountain girls in unfamiliar territory, and they’ll still win.In the third game of Saturday’s three game victory over Delta, the Battle Mountain volleyball squad looked like they were playing musical chairs.”I changed the lineup dramatically,” said coach Bryan Doyon. “I changed setters, outside hitters and middles to give the girls a different look.”At first some of the girls looked confused, and responded a bit slower, but by the end of the game, the Huskies were in regular form. Battle Mountain won the match, 25-8, 25-18, 25-23.In the opening game, Delta hung with Battle Mountain for the first few points, but then Battle Mountain’s speed was just too much for Delta to handle.

“The speed was faster than what we are used to,” said Delta coach Gregg Hawkins.Not only were the Huskies fast on offense, but they tracked down most Lady Panthers hits quickly to set up smooth transitions. And sometimes the Huskies didn’t have to dig the ball because Nicole Penwill was there to block the Lady Panthers at the net.The second game was vintage Battle Mountain offense. Attacks came from all over the court, with Sofia Lindroth and Crystin Rodrick putting Delta back-row hitters on their heels with monster hits. Lindroth finished with a team-high nine kills.Delta started to adjust to the Battle Mountain offense later in the second game. The Lady Panthers mounted some nice rallies, and recorded several kills. Quarterbacking the Delta offense was setter Cami Miller, who recorded 17 assists and three blocks.”Cami had a tough job having to set some of those balls,” said Hawkins.Miller can thank the Battle Mountain hitters for the tough sets. Many of the Battle Mountain hits were so powerful that Delta’s digs bounced off the ceiling, forcing Miller to move quickly and set a high-velocity ball.

Switch-a-rooIn most sports, changing positions is not an easy task. Everything from timing, to body positioning is different.”I haven’t hit once this season, so it was difficult to get into the flow of hitting,” said setter Britney Brown. In the first two games Brown recorded 14 assists. Rodrick, who had seven kills, moved to setter, where she had seven assists.Delta jumped on the opportunity to catch the Huskies in unfamiliar turf, and took an early lead.

“We slowed down our game a lot changing up our positions,” said Doyon. “It’s tough to do mid match, but it’s something you’ve gotta prepare for because if someone gets hurt, there are changes in the game.”On several Delta points, Battle Mountain let the ball drop to the floor, or dug the ball too late for a pass.”They are not used to being in a different position on defense,” Doyon said. “The errors will happen, but the thing is they started to realize it as the game progressed, and to come back like they did was pretty good.”Not until 17-17 did the Huskies tie the game. They fell behind again until 22-22, and then closed out the game and match at 25-23.”Delta played strong against us,” Doyon said. “They weren’t giving up and letting us have the day.”The third game was the first time in several matches that the Huskies trailed for a sustained period.

“It’s fun winning and winning, but when you are down and you have to come back to win in a close, fast-paced game, it’s a lot of fun,” said Devon Abbott.At home”It’s good for the girls to come out and play well at Homecoming, but there are distractions,” Doyon said. “In bigger matches there are always distractions, so to have some here is good training.”Doyon though there were some aspects of the Huskies game that need fine-tuning.”Our blocking is getting better,” Doyon said. “We’re closing it up a little more and the girls are starting to learn to adjust.”

Thursday the Huskies hope to solidify their blocking against a hard-hitting Glenwood team.”They have two big middle hitters, so we need to get a big block up there,” Brown said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado