A safe bet: Vail will win tonight
EAST VAIL – It’s now a nonconference game, but that fact really doesn’t matter.The Vail Mountain volleyball team moved up to the 2A Western Slope out of the 1A Mountain League this year, yet it remains a special evening when VMS and Vail Christian get together. These two teams had battled for years at least twice per season in the Mountain League, so when the Saints call on the Gore Rangers at The Garven in East Vail tonight at 6, a full house is expected. “It’s only been one year since we’ve been out of the rivalry within the league,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “Pretty much every player in our program has experienced this as a league rivalry. You don’t need to do much to hype up for Vail Christian. I hope this continues over the years even though they’re not a league opponent.”As is typical for coaches, both Garvey and the Saints’ Cathy Alexander have been preaching the one-game-at-a-time mentality, but the players likely have had an eye on tonight’s match.”It’s the valley rivalry,” Alexander said. “I haven’t let them think about it. Monday, we (were) a little more focused on VMS and what it’s going to take to play our own system in their gym.”
VMS leads the all-time series, but going by this year’s record, Vail Christian is likely the favorite. The Saints are 12-4 overall and 6-0 in the Mountain League, while the Gore Rangers are 4-12 and 3-4 in the Western Slope.The Saints are riding high, coming off a nice weekend when they downed Soroco, 25-8, 25-18, 25-20, and won at DeBeque, 25-9, 25-23, 25-10. The latter win gave the Saints their first season sweep of the Dragons, a traditional power in the Mountain League.”It was really nice,” Alexander said. “DeBeque can surprise you at any time. There’s something in the water there that says you have to be a scrappy volleyball player. We’ve talked to the girls about having a target on them going through the league a second time. They had to be purposeful, step up and limit their errors.”VMS’ 4-12 mark can be deceiving. The Gore Rangers are a respectable 3-4 in their first foray into the 2A Slope. The Gore Rangers’s nonconference slate has included 4A Eagle Valley, 3A Aspen and a myriad of other strong 2A squads. Comparing common opponents, tonight’s match should be tight. Both teams have lost to 2A Rangely and Plateau Valley, as well as 1A power North Park. The Saints and Gore Rangers have wins against Grand Valley and Soroco.
In Vail Christian’s second win against Soroco, the team honored its lone senior, Jackie Parker.”She’s been a phenomenal leader,” Alexander said. “She’s really lead by example. The girls look at her and respect her and want to raise their performance.Tonight will be Senior night for VMS. The Gore Rangers will salute Della Elich, Kelsey Ferguson and Janelle Kibler-Silengo.And after that, the safest bet is that a team with Vail in its name will win tonight’s game.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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