Battle Mountain spikers pull off season sweep of rival Eagle Valley on Senior Night
Huskies roar back after dropping the first game to take the match in four
EDWARDS — Sofi Petrovski surveyed Battle Mountain’s schedule before the season and circled Thursday night’s rivalry meeting with Eagle Valley in red for Senior Night.
Did she ever make the right choice.
Petrovski and fellow Huskies seniors Carly Post, Emma Judge, Tatum Huffman, and Gabby Gully pulled off the season sweep of their downvalley rivals in dominant fashion at home after dropping the first game, winning the final three frames by scores of 25-19, 25-14, 25-16.
“It’s unreal,” Petrovski said after the win. “We’ve all put so much hard work in these past four years and to watch it pay off like that is so glorious. I could never ask for anything else.”
As for the Devils, they looked like a much different squad to start the match than the one that got swept at home back on Sept. 26.
Eagle Valley jumped out to an 11-7 lead in Game 1, aided by the pinpoint serving of junior Olivia Fedrizzi and some key kills by Claire Whelan. Battle Mountain got as close as a point from there, but Meredith Murphy put the Devils back up by four with her second ace of the game to make it 16-12. Eliza Wetzel then delivered a huge block to stifle the Huskies’ momentum and make it 17-14 Devils. Up 24-21, Eagle Valley’s Kylee Hughes finished off the Huskies with a huge slam to take the game.
It was all downhill for the Devils from there. Game 2 was tight in the early going, with both teams running off points to 8-8, but then the Huskies went on an 8-3 run and didn’t look back. Huffman was huge in the win, reeling off two aces to go with timely kills.
The senior finished the night as Battle Mountain’s top scorer with 20 points. The Huskies dropped the first point of Games 3 and 4, but then never trailed again in either game to win going away.
Post finished the night as the Huskies’ assist leader, while Petrovski finished with 13 kills and two aces and McKenzie Clyncke finished with 10 kills and five aces.
Hughes led the Devils’ attack with eight kills.
“It’s the same thing,” Devils coach Jackie Rindy said. “With every loss that we’ve had, it’s our errors. You can’t have rally scoring and give away points.”
Rindy, whose team fell to 8-7 overall and 4-5 in the 4A Western Slope, said she attributes the unforced errors to a lack of communication and a lack of intensity.
“Sometimes they get in their own heads and forget about playing as a team,” she said. “In Game 1, they were not in their heads. They were playing aggressive. They were playing to win, not playing not to lose. It’s like a light switch. It goes on and then it goes right back off.”
The Huskies improved to 14-3 overall and 7-3 in the 4A Slope.
Battle Mountain coach Jason Fitzgerald said he was proud of his seniors Thursday for settling in after an emotional Senior Night presentation to win going away. He singled out the defense of Post, Judge, and Stephanie Delgado to set up Battle Mountain’s big swingers.
“We’re always looking to convert and survive,” he said. “We made a lot of hitting errors early in that first set, cleaned it up in the second set. Our serving game took hold, we were pushing the ball where we wanted it and then our defense was able to tee it up a little easier.”
The two teams took a group picture before the game, showing the closeness between players who are on club teams together. But it was all business when the match started.
“I’m always nervous to play such a close adversary, someone you know so well, there’s just a lot of extra pieces to that puzzle,” Fitzgerald said. “Although it always gives me that little bit of extra butterflies, I was proud of them to have the guts to make tonight senior night and believe in themselves.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.