Devils, Gore Rangers volleyball fall at regionals
Teams conclude great seasons
As much as we’re inclined to think that this Saturday, across two different courts from Gypsum to East Vail, was different because of the presence of COVID-19 during this athletic school year, it was an unfortunately normal Saturday at regionals for Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain volleyball.
Except for the really disturbing fact that it was 75-80 degrees in Gypsum and in the high 60s at VMS. Those poor kids practicing lacrosse outside at Eagle Valley simply didn’t understand why it was warm for a preseason practice, no less.
The Devils and the Gore Rangers started the day as the top seeds in their respective regions they were hosting, favored to advance to the state tournament at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. After Saturday’s action was done, both teams were eliminated.
Maybe, it was leaving the gym after the season ended and walking out into a still sunlit parking lot that warm on May 1, as opposed to Nov. 1, when elimination ends with a walk into a cold, dark parking lot with thoughts of whom the Broncos are playing the next day.
COVID-19 or not, regardless of whenever a season is played (fall or early spring in the mountains), this is the reality of regionals: 120 teams started the day from 1A to 5A and only one-third, or 40, go to state.
Eighty teams go home on regional Saturday and Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain are part of the four score.
Eagle Valley just ended up as a No. 4 seed with two league champions in its regional — Golden of the Jeffco and The Classical Academy of the Colorado Springs Metro North.
The Devils did lose the opener to Golden in four games, but TCA did its job by beating Golden in match No. 2. If Eagle Valley were to beat TCA in the finale, all three teams would be tied at 1-1 and the trio would advance to one-set playoffs. TCA ended up winning in five, 25-16, 23-25, 25-18, 15-25, 15-7, sending the Titans to state and the Devils home.
“I think today, we just didn’t play as well as the other teams, but I think that it was still the best [match] we’ve ever played [against TCA],” senior Sophia Rinn said. “You can’t be too disappointed with that.”
“You get to this point and you’re in the top 24 teams left and it’s going to be a battle,” said Devils coach Mike Garvey, whose team finished the year 10-3. “You knew that going in. You can second-guess this or that, but the main thing I was proud of with these girls is that, when it was all said and done, they owned where they were.”
Meanwhile, in East Vail, Vail Mountain volleyball got off to a good start with a three-set win over Dolores. The season came to an end at the hands of Holyoke, also in three.
Before the Gore Rangers bemoan their fate, just a reminder: There’s a reason 6 of 8 teams in the 2A state tournament are from the Eastern Plains (Denver Christian and Vail Christian), including Holyoke. That’s the next goal for VMS — competing with those squads — and the good news is that they don’t have to wait long. The next volleyball season starts in three months.