Battle Mountain draws fifth-seed heading into Districts at Windsor
With a new waterfall-format for district volleyball seeding in 4A and 5A, Battle Mountain will square off against some unfamiliar foes in its District 7 Tournament this weekend at Windsor.
The Huskies, who are seeded fifth out of eight in District 7, will be placed into a pool with No. 1-seed Windsor, No. 4-seed Ranum and No. 8-seed Skyline. The top two finishers from Battle Mountain’s pool will then go on to play crossover games against the top two finishers from the other pool, with the two winners of crossover play advancing on to the regional tournament.
“I really do hope that they come out and play with a lot of fire and that we make the top two for the crossovers,” said Battle Mountain coach Brian Doyon. “We have not seen any of the teams that we are playing at all [in districts] this year, so we don’t know what to expect.”
Doyon’s squad finished the regular season with an overall record of 8-10 and a conference mark of 5-7 in the 4A Western Slope. What makes the new seeding format so interesting though, is that Battle Mountain, along with the other eight teams in the district, will go into Saturday’s action without any game experience against one another, unlike district tournaments in past years where teams were grouped geographically and duked it out against regular-season, conference foes.
Like the old adage, it really is a whole new season for the Huskies.
“We’ve been working on some new things, and we’re stepping up our play, that’s for sure,” said Doyon when asked about his team’s level of confidence. “Our offense is improving. Our defense is still doing really well. The keys are going to be our defense picking up balls, not letting easy balls drop, and serving. With rally scoring, if you don’t have a good serve, you are not going to continue on long in the day, because it’s free points for the other team.”
If Battle Mountain hopes to make it to crossover play, it will have to knock off Ranum in its opening game. The Raiders, who finished fourth in the Skyline League behind bonafide state-title contenders Mountain View and Brighton, ranked third and fourth in 4A, come into the district tournament with a conference record of 7-6 and are 11-8 overall.
“We are a short team, so we really have to rely a lot on our defense, and when we do have offensive strikes, we use them to our advantage,” said Doyon. “It’s tough, with our tallest player being 5-9 to be a big dominating offensive power, but the girls are doing really well picking up our offense, and our backrow defense is doing much better.”
Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.