Devils come back to win districts
Eagle Valley, facing a 10-1 deficit in the final game of the District 2 championship against Aspen, rallied to score the final seven points and win the third game, 16-14, putting the Devils in position to host a regional match.
“They did it. It’s all about these players,” Devils head coach Karl Talcott said. “We coaches just sat back and watch them dig deep into themselves and pull out an amazing comeback.”
Having swept the three pool play games, Eagle Valley knocked off Cedaredge in two games, then faced the Skiers in a rematch of a game Aspen won earlier in the season.
This time, however, the Devils, who finished tied with Aspen and Cedaredge for the league title, would not allow the game to slip away.
Eagle Valley took Game 1, 15-8, but was dominated in the second by Aspen and Stanford-recruit Lizzie Suiter in the second, a game that the Skiers won 15-4.
Suiter and company continued, pulling out to a seemingly comfortable 10-1 lead. That’s when things got interesting. Sophomore Devil Kenzie Shreeve began pounding away, using solid passes by senior captain Erin Sterkel. Suddenly, the Skiers’ lead was cut to 14-9. At match point, Talcott called a timeout.
“When we got it to 14-9, I talked to my assistant Lisa (Wipperfurth). I told her if we could come back, it would be great. It’d be miraculous,” Talcott said. “When it was 14-14, I told the team in the huddle, “you’re my heroes.'”
Senior Jean Romershauser landed the last two serves, which Eagle Valley converted into points, and the celebration began.
All day, Shreeve dominated. The sophomore standout led the team in kills and had seven in that deciding championship game, with the stands full of supporters from Rangely. Sterkel had a 30-assist game against Roaring Fork in the final round of pool play. Senior Chelsea Abbott also picked up between five and seven kills a match.
In a telling statistic, senior Kim Smith finished district play with 12 aces.
The regional pairings set up like this: Eagle Valley is one of five district champions, four of which will host a regional game Saturday. If the Devils overall record of 18-4 ranks among the top four, Hot Stuff gymnasium is sure to be hopping.
Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.