Devils punch their ticket to regionals
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Welcome to November, Eagle Valley volleyball.
The Devils qualified for regionals for the time as a 4A squad by going 3-1 Saturday as hosts of the District 7 Volleyball Tournament. Eagle Valley last made the Sweet 16 as a a 3A school in 2002.
Eagle Valley beat Glenwood Springs in five games and Delta in four in pool play. In the critical semifinal ” the top two teams from districts advance to regionals ” the Devils gave their fans a few heart palpitations with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20, 15-11 win against Montezuma-Cortez to stamp their tickets to regionals. In the final, which is essentially for regional seeding, Mullen topped the Devils in four (19-25, , 25-22, 25-18, 25-19).
“It’s awesome,” said senior Whitney Wright after the semifinals. “We’re just going to go out against Mullen and work on our game, work hard. But we know we’re going. It’s a really good feeling.”
“It’s great, The girls should be really proud of what they accomplished,” Devils coach Shawn Weatherred said. “We lost a captain and a great player midseason (Whitney Van Voorst, ACL) and we fought through to regionals. Losing to Mullen is nothing to be ashamed of. Mullen is a great team. We gave them a battle. If we face them again, I think we give them another battle.”
The Devils (19-3) might see those Mustangs down the road, depending on how CHSAA seeds the remaining 16 squads in 4A into four four-team round-robins to be played Saturday.
After beating Glenwood and Delta for the third time this season, the Devils seemed to be cruising to the finals of Saturday’s tournament and a berth in regionals. After winning the first two games, Eagle Valley found itself in a dog fight.
“We like to do that,” setter Kelsey Foster joked. “We like to take everything to five games, give everyone heart attacks.”
All of a sudden, the Devils were playing a game to 15 points that would decide their season.
“We all just said, ‘Put everything you have into this game, this ball, the next point. This could be our last game,'” freshman Alex Lassa said.
The Devils rose to the challenge with contributions from up and down the roster. With sophomore Emily Keener serving, Lass, certainly not playing like a freshman, crushed three attacks in a row for a 5-3 lead. A Lassa kill and a block from Angela Phillips made it 9-6.
Two Wright attack upped advantage to 13-9, and Lassa ended it will another smash.
“We just went out and played our hearts out, everything we had,” Foster said.
Preparing for regionals
Having already advanced, the Devils faced Mullen and gave the Mustangs a match for three games until the eventual district champs took over in the fourth. While no one in Eagle Valley red seemed too happy to lose, the match was a good warm-up for next week’s games.
“That’s a good idea of what we’re going to see at regionals,” Foster said. “It’s good to play a challenging team like that so we know what we need to expect. We know what we have to work on and we’re going to work hard in practice this week.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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