Devils overpower Huskies in three
EDWARDS – New faces, same result.
Eagle Valley volleyball continued its run against its archrivals Tuesday, dispatching Battle Mountain volleyball, 25-9, 25-19, 25-16, as the Devils won their eighth in a row (including district play in 2009) against the Huskies dating back to 2008.
Yet the rivalry is alive and well as the Battle Mountain student section started chanting during the final points of the match, “Wait ’til football.”
“Go Devils,” Eagle Valley senior Kelsey VanGoey responded in postgame after saying, “It never gets old, never, ever, ever.”
Tuesday’s first meeting – the squads meet again in Gypsum Oct. 18 – showed that the Devils and Huskies are different places as dictated by their rosters.
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Eagle Valley is a veteran team, retooling on the fly. With returning state veterans like VanGoey and Alex Lassa, the Devils are working in players like Clara Roulon, Erin Burnett and Maddie McGinty, who had bit parts last season into full-fledged starters, while also incorporating new sophomores Lacey Gerard, Tiffany Sheehy, Megan Asmussen and Ashley Newborn.
“I think we’re coming together great,” VanGoey said. “We learning how to come together as one. We know each other’s assets and we know each other’s weaknesses, which really helps us in tight situations. We know what to do. We just have positive energy, and we work well as a team.”
Devils coach Shawn Weatherred was pleased with his team after the match, saying, “That’s probably the beat match we’ve played so far. We didn’t make a lot of errors. We didn’t waste a lot of serves. I thought we played real clean, real steady out there.”
And steady would be Weatherred’s mantra for 2011. The Devils are 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the Slope, going into Saturday’s twinbill with Moffat County and Steamboat Springs, which represents the halfway point in league play.
“We have to play like we did today, steady and error-free,” the coach said. “We don’t need everybody to get the kill like Alex does. We just need to be steady and get the kills when they present themselves. Last year, the team was steady. We didn’t make a ton of errors. We didn’t get up and down. We were just steady and that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
While steady is the name of the game for Eagle Valley, experience and tempo are the buzzwords in Battle Mountain’s camp.
“I thought Eagle Valley played a very consistent match,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “They have five seniors on their team. We have one. Their experience showed tonight. We couldn’t get our offense going and we struggled with our passing. That was that.”
The Huskies (2-7, 1-3) were overmatched at times, but the hope is that getting all of Battle Mountain’s underclassmen playing time now will pay off down the road.
“I want to see if my sophomores now will stand up to a senior,” Fitzgerald said. “If they will now, that’s great because in two years, they won’t be afraid of anyone.”
Fitzgerald is trying to get his Huskies playing at a faster pace to offset their lack of size which was evident and costly against the Devils. (In fairness to Battle Mountain, most teams don’t have an answer for Lassa at the net.)
“We’re still struggling as a team to play at the tempo our system requires us to play,” the coach said. “If we play slow, we’re ineffective. If we play at the correct tempo, which is hard to reach and to practice with young players, we’re pretty darn good.”
The Devils and Huskies are next in action Saturday for the annual Steamboat Springs-Moffat County twinbill. The Devils host the Bulldogs at noon and the Sailors at 4 p.m. in Gypsum, while the Huskies have Steamboat at noon and Moffat at 5 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.