Saints spikers win home, league opener
September 2, 2016
EDWARDS — Happy birthday, Coach.
Vail Christian volleyball is a very considerate bunch. Thursday was coach Sara Calton's birthday, and Friday, the Saints gave her some flowers and a card. But the best gift was a 25-23, 25-13, 25-14 win over North Park in the team's home opener on Friday night at the Wheeler Athletic Center in Edwards.
"It's a great first win," Calton said. "They played very well as a team. We've already seen improvement from a week ago."
Yes, indeed, the Saints (1-1) bounced back from a five-set loss to Caliche last week, and North Park is a league win, which is always helpful. (The Gore and Mesa leagues are no more. Everybody plays everyone during the regular season in the revamped 2A Slope.)
And, at Vail Christian, there are a lot of new faces in a new places after the Saints graduated nine players last spring.
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"I think the excitement, in the whole, is the new team," said junior Marti Schmidt, who has moved from the right side to middle blocker. "It's different people you see on the court. It's different people who get the feel of a varsity game. It's the rush, the adrenaline. The difficulty is probably the new team as well."
Schmidt and senior Ciara Heiden, who also did the postgame media honors, both laughed at that contradiction, but it's very true and meant in no way as a criticism. The Saints are in the get-to-know-you process, and so far, so good.
Heiden was drilling down kills against the visiting Panthers all evening from the outside. Schmidt looked very comfortable at middle blocker as North Park can attest.
"We just try to encourage them all the time," Heiden said. "We know it's definitely different. We try to give them all the support they can get."
And the new kids looked just fine, thank you, on Friday night. Abby Bossow and Ava Spangler, both sophomores, shared the setting duties, and they were in sync. Clara Cappel was digging away at libero setting them up, and that combination makes for happy hitters.
Vail Christian certainly looks like they could be potent when adding senior Bianca Valenzuela into the mix as was the case on Friday.
The Saints head to West Grand on Friday before returning home for Caprock Academy a week from today.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934.
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