VMS takes down Saints in four | VailDaily.com

VMS takes down Saints in four

VC v. VMS 1 big KA 09-23-08

EAST VAIL, Colorado ” Does Vail Mountain volleyball’s Brigitta Gehl do windows?

She did just about everything else ” hitting, blocking and singing the national anthem ” helping her Gore Rangers to an 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 win over archrival Vail Christian Tuesday before a packed house at the Garven.

“I was way more scared about singing the national anthem,” Gehl said after the win. “I was simply excited to play.”

Gehl inherited the anthem honors from now-VMS alumna Adi Slifer, and the bad news for Gehl, is that she’ll probably be singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before future home game because the Gore Rangers played their best game of the season Tuesday.

“This is what we sensed as coaches and players of what we were capable of,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “We’ve been inconsistent all season with injuries and illnesses and it’s nice to see what we’re capable of. We should have that weight off our shoulders and be able to play with confidence.”

Home at last

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In front of a raucous, but good-spirited, bipartisan crowd, VMS finally had its home opener.

“It was lucky we played our first 12 games on the road,” Garvey joked.

In the end there were more Sean Minett-led cries of “Hoo-wah” than “Let’s go, Saints” cheers, in large part due to Gehl. While the VMS bench does not keep stats, with apologies to official scorer Oliver Compton, one didn’t need to be a mathematician to figure out that No. 8 was controlling the game.

Gehl pounded down kills and was part of the Gore Rangers’ spirited block which closed off Vail Christian’s attacking lanes.

“I think that was a coming-out party for Brigitta,” Garvey said. “She’s been playing well in practice and she had her opportunities tonight. I think singing was the bigger hurdle than the match.”

And while no one on either side likes to admit it beforehand, this game does have added significance between the two local 2A squads.

“I was really pumped to get on the court,” Gehl said. “This game is bigger. We’ve all been looking forward to this since the beginning of the season. We’ve lost to them the last two years and it gives us a lot of confidence. This is the first time all of us clicked together.”

When Gehl, Ande Brill and others were doing their thing at the net, one overlooked aspect of VMS’ win was Chanda Wilcox’s serving. She did not serve well to open the first game, but rebounded well at the start of the final three games to establish early VMS leads and the tone.

“That’s the reason we have Chanda there,” Garvey said. “She missed two serves in first game. But she was hitting the ball well and I told her to keep at it. Her aggressive service was key.”

Good start

Vail Christian started well, winning the first game, but characteristic of a young team, frayed as the match continued.

“(VMS has) great mentally maturity as a team, and we were somewhat lacking in that at times,” Vail Christian coach Cathy Alexander said. “The first game was the team we canbe. We’ve just got to learn that we’re going to have our big points and they’re going to have big points. We’re going to make a mess. They’ll make a mess. We’ve got to learn to work through that.”

VMS (6-6 overall and 1-3 in the 2A Slope) hosts North Park Friday at 5:30 p.m., while the Saints (5-6, 2-3) are at Rangely Friday and West Grand Saturday.

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