Devils keep it rolling against Summit County
GYPSUM — Eagle Valley’s Kylie Martin knows her way around a gym.
It’s really her home away from home during either volleyball or basketball season. And now a senior, she’s changing positions, going from middle-block to outside hitter.
It seems to be going just fine, as the Devils dispatched Summit County, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15.
“It’s so much more energetic than last year,” Martin said. “Our team has so much chemistry. We’re all like new players together. There’s so much energy.”
What’s interesting is that the Devils (7-2 overall and 3-0 in the 4A Slope) likely had a bit of an energy drop-off, completely natural after a rivalry match, on Thursday on the heels of their win at Battle Mountain on Tuesday. Yet they took something from their encounter from the Huskies, particularly overcoming a 12-3 second-set deficit.
“That’s the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team,” Devils coach Jackie Rindy said. “They never gave up on themselves in that set against Battle Mountain and they know it doesn’t matter how many points we get down. We can come out of anything. They have confidence in each other.”
Part of the monster
Martin’s enjoying the new position on the outside. She’s part of a three-headed offense, which may be adding some heads. For now, the offense is designed so that two of those three heads — Martin, Becy Glutova and Emma Lassa are always on the front rotation.
“It’s definitely different. I can see the block more,” Martin said. “I’ve still been hitting the block because I’m still learning. It’s nice to be able to see. I also get to pass more too. Now I’ve been able to play back row a little too.”
And though she’s a senior, Martin is drawing inspiration from her teammates.
“It’s so nice having them,” she said. “I know that they’re younger, but they give me so much advice because I’ve never played outside before. It’s nice having them and knowing that someone’s going to put the ball down.”
Martin did so against the Tigers (4-4, 2-1), as did Glutova and Lassa. And what’s fun for Devils fans is that sophomore Elyse Fitzpatrick and junior Teaghan Mercer, the latter who returned from an injury on Tuesday, also seem to be finding their footing.
That caused a lot of problems on Thursday for the visiting Tigers.
“It was actually really hard for them to get into a rhythm,” Summit coach Liz Waddick said. “That was hard for us. We were trading error for error. We’re going to get back in that gym and work on that rhythm. … Tonight wasn’t indicative of what we can do at all.”
While Summit heads back home to face West Grand on Tuesday, the Devils have a big week ahead. They host Palisade a week from tonight in what could be a battle of league unbeatens. (The two teams met in nonconference play at the Regis Jam Tournament with the Devils winning in five.) Eagle Valley has to turn around the next day and head to defending league champion Steamboat Springs.
“They made a lot of mistakes but they picked it up,” Rindy said. “We have Palisade next week, and we can’t make that many mistakes.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.