Battle Mountain Huskies volleyball nips Eagle Valley Devils in five for season sweep
GYPSUM — Senior effort.
It’s a Jason Fitzgerald-ism, be in girls lacrosse in the spring or volleyball in the fall.
The Battle Mountain coach got in Game 5 from his seniors during the Huskies, 17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 15-13, win at Eagle Valley on Thursday, Oct. 12, in Gypsum.
“Absolutely, senior effort,” Fitzgerald said. “We thought we were going to be able to put them away in the fourth and they had a great nine-point run to fight us off. Starting the fifth we had to stay steady and go to our bread and butter, which are our seniors, Eleanor (Sheahan), Lillian Benway and Tatum (Huffman).”
And Madame Huffman was appearing in her first match, coming off a right-ankle sprain, and none too soon for Battle Mountain (13-4 overall and 7-3 in the 4A Slope.)
“It’s awesome. What a way to get my turn back,” Huffman said. “It’s feeling a lot better. We’ve got a lot of people to fill big shoes, but we’re working together to play as a team and stay together.”
First to 15
The Huskies had to overcome a 4-1 deficit in the final stanza, and it was Benway — senior effort — who started the rally with a kill for a side out and promptly delivered two of the next three points of Ava Spangler’s serving. (Spangler? Senior effort.)
The Devils (10-5, 5-4) and Huskies were tied at five, six, seven and eight, when Huffman — senior effort — pounded two attacks for 10-8 lead. The second point was off a Mason Lyon — senior effort — serve. An Eleanor Sheahan tip off a dig from Audrey Wright — senior efforts — gave the Huskies a 12-10 lead and Battle Mountain was able to put it away.
While the Huskies ultimately prevailed in Game 5, they probably should have closed it out in four. The Huskies led 21-16, but the Devils got a side out and then Meredith Murphy went on an eight point serving run with help from Bree Gates and Eliza Wetzel.
“A lot of mistakes, but I thought Battle Mountain played well,” Devils coach Jackie Rindy said. “They played well the last half of the match. When you play well on defense, it’s hard to put balls away. Hats off to them. Meredith’s serving was tremendous. That showed a lot of fight from this group.”
For Battle Mountain, this was perhaps a tide-turner. The Huskies swept the Devils for the first time since 2014. What’s more, the Huskies finish league play with two big home games — Glenwood Springs on Saturday, Oct. 13, followed by Steamboat Spring coming to town on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Eagle Valley is at Northfield on Saturday.