Devils, Huskies spikers ready for regionals
It could happen.
Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain volleyball or Huskies-Devils, depending on one’s partisanship, the third round, could happen.
Both local 4A volleyball teams are two wins away from state — a huge accomplishment — regardless of if there is a third meeting between the two rivals at the Denver Coliseum.
The Huskies came out of the maxpreps.com rankings No. 9 and host their regional tournament on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. The Devils are No. 13 and are headed to Air Academy for their tourney.
Eagle Valley enters as the champion of the 4A Slope, but the computer, nonetheless, put the Devils behind the Huskies. (Steamboat Springs, by the way, is No. 15 and at Pueblo West.)
“Everything happens for a reason,” Devils coach Lindsey Myers said. “We need to prove ourselves, to show that we are a better team.”
Thus the Devils turn a snub into a motivational tool.
At the Region 12 Tournament, host No. 12 Air Academy goes first at 10:30 a.m. against No. 25 Pueblo East. Eagle Valley faces Pueblo East at roughly noon, followed by the Kadets at about 1:30 p.m.
If things go to form, the key match is the finale — Eagle Valley and Air Academy.
“Air Academy has a great serve-receive and defense,” Myers said. “They will pass anything we send to them. It’s going to be a tough game to get past Air Academy.”
Eagle Valley (19-4) will draw upon its experience last year. The Devils went to Cheyenne Mountain, then the five-time defending state champion, and took a set off the Indians.
“We underestimated ourselves,” Myers said. “We surprised ourselves. Now, we can’t underestimate ourselves or our opponents.”
Welcome back, Battle Mountain.
The Huskies hosted the Region 5 Tournament last year. This year, it’s the Region 9 Tournament, simply by a change of seed.
Last year, the Huskies swept Canon City and saw their season slide away with a sweep at the hands of Coronado.
That said, this year’s team (20-3) has overcome its share of obstacles. Setter Maddie Perkins rolled her ankle warming up before Oct. 2’s match, a marathon win over Steamboat Springs. During that tilt with the Sailors, Emily Clinton also went down with an ankle injury.
Clinton came back, but Perkins hasn’t played since. Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said earlier this month that he anticipated that Perkins would be back for the regional tournament.
In the meantime, sophomore Haley Frischholz has filled in more than capably at setter. And the Huskies have done a very good job of “surviving and advancing,” as Fitzgerald said, compiling a 10-2 record since Perkins went down.
As the host, Battle Mountain starts the regional with Windsor at 1 p.m. Windsor plays Mountain View at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Huskies and Mountain View in the finale roughly at 4 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.