Battle Mountain outlasts Devils in five
GYPSUM — For those who did not suffer some form of cardiac incident during Saturday’s Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley volleyball game, the Huskies came away with a dramatic 25-27, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 15-10 victory over the Devils in Gypsum.
Trite as it sounds, neither team deserved to come away with a loss from this epic.
“It’s exactly why we play the game,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my girls and their team. That’s great volleyball for our valley, and to know that Steamboat’s in the mix, too, this should be a real fun league.”
Battle Mountain moved to 6-1 overall, and, more importantly 4-0, and tied with Steamboat Springs in the 4A Slope. For Eagle Valley, it capped a week of heartbreak, three consecutive losses, all in five.
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While the Devils (7-4, 2-2) were understandably disappointed by the result, Eagle Valley can walk away from this match proudly, and anticipate the rematch on Oct. 16 in Edwards. The Devils would not go away. The Huskies held a 20-15 advantage in Game 1, a 23-19 advantage in the second and were up 23-19 in the third, and were trailing in the match, 2-1.
“Eagle Valley’s always great competition, which makes the game that much more fun,” Huskies outside-hitter Jordan Brandt said. “We came in knowing it was going to be a long afternoon.”
The Devils were down 24-21 in the first set, but eventually got two aces from Molly Jewett to take a 25-24 lead. Eagle Valley’s Jaimee Rindy crushed a kill and her team was out to a 1-0 lead.
While the Devils took the first set, the Huskies were laying the groundwork of its block. Timaree McKenney was thrust into this role along with Brandt and Sofia Calabrese.
“It was huge, Sofia Calabrese and Timaree McKenny came alive today for us blocking,” Fitzgerald said. “We served very tough. We try to keep teams out of their standard offense, knowing (Eagle Valley) has big hitters like Rindy and (Carlee) Morrison. That was our plan.”
That’s because, as good of a day as Brandt had hitting, along with Mackenzie Ellison, who became a big factor as the match wore on, Battle Mountain does not have the personnel to go head-to-head with teams like Eagle Valley with Rindy, Morrison, Morgan Murphy and Becy Glutova.
“I watch the hitter, so I can get the timing right, and know when to go up,” McKenny said. “I also make sure my outside blockers are with me. We’re all really tall, so it’s amazing how we can get up and get our hands in front of the ball.”
Destined for five
One of the risks of trying to serve a team of its system is serving errors. A few are understandable. Seven serving errors in one game? No. Battle Mountain did so in Game 3, and Eagle Valley seized the initiative.
Down 23-19, Devils coach Lindsey Myers called a timeout and rallied the troops. A Rindy attack, a combo block from Rondy and Glotova and a Morrison drop shot were part of comeback.
Naturally, the Huskies took Game 4 because this one had to go to the limit. Eagle Valley led 3-1 before Huskies started a roll to make it 13-7. Again, the Devils called timeout, only to rally before an Emily Clinton tip ended the two-hour saga.
“I think we had a tough week,” Myers said. “I think playing against the teams we did this week, they were all really, really strong teams. It was hard to find the energy. I think they pushed through a lot of good plays and they played strong. We know what our weaknesses are against strong teams.”
Battle Mountain’s next game is at Vail Christian on Wednesday. Eagle Valley is at Rifle on Tuesday and has its Homecoming match on Thursday against Summit County.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.