Devils outlast Grand Junction Central
GYPSUM – Eagle Valley volleyball had one of those murder mystery matches that kept you wondering what would happen next.
We’ll cut to the ending. Eagle Valley beat Grand Junction Central three straight sets to win the non-league match.
But getting to that ending saw more plot twists than a crime novel, including a 34-32 win in the third set.
Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred pointed that out when he called time out in the third set, his Devils up two sets to none but trailing 19-10 in that third set.
“It doesn’t matter where you are, how are you going to finish? What are you going to do to change it?” Weatherred asked his team in the huddle.
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Then he told them to go out there and play like they were capable of playing, and by golly, they went out there and did it.
“They focused on their job and didn’t try to get 25 points at once,” Weatherred said.
The Devils looked like they would surgically dismantle Central after handily winning the first set 25-19.
But then a bunch of stuff happened that wasn’t in the script.
The Devils quickly took control of the second set, jumping out to a seven-point lead.
But then …
Central battled back to tie it 15-15 when they coupled a healthy dose of self-preservation with a pinch of Devils’ self destruction.
But while the Devils might bleed black and red, they didn’t bleed for long and when they Devils rolled back out to a 22-17 lead, Central coach Beth Nelson called time out to slow the Eagle Valley onslaught.
It didn’t slow enough to be noticeable. Alex Lassa pounded home a kill, Erin Burnett served an ace and before you could say “What comeback?” Eagle Valley was a winner in the second set, 25-20.
But then …
The storyline on that third set should have been picked up by Hollywood.
Eagle Valley fell behind early in the third game, but a couple Clara Rulon blocks and a pair of thunderclap kills by Lassa evened things at 9-9.
But then …
Eagle Valley had one of those ugly stretches that resembled a walk through the woods in a slasher movie, although nobody died. The Devils were never really even all that frustrated, although they trailed 19-10 when Weatherred called his only time out of the match. They were still up two sets to none, and that’ll keep the jitters at bay.
But then …
Down 24-16, Lassa served eight straight, Maddy McGinty crushed a couple kills and the Devils battled back to tie it 24-24.
Justine Bukovick won a battle at the net for an Eagle Valley point, McGinty dinked one to tie it 26-26, Lassa hammered a couple kills that registered on the Richter scale and it was 31-31.
Lassa served, setter Addie Arnold popped a seeing eye shot for a point, McGinty crushed a kill and, finally, Eagle Valley won the set 34-32 and the match 3-0.
Weatherred had high praise for the Devils two setters, Arnold and Megan Asmussen. McGinty, he said, is learning to play at the level the Devils are trying to reach.
Lassa, a senior, had one of her best matches of the season and is an excellent all around player, Weatherred said, a fact occasionally lost amid her high profile kills.
“She can play all the way around the court,” he said.
Eagle Valley improves to 9-3 overall and is 5-1 in league.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.