Devils return plenty of talent |

Devils return plenty of talent

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
EVVB Whitney VanVoorst PU 9-4-07

GYPSUM ” Rob Crawford is a trusting man. The former Eagle Valley volleyball coach tossed the keys to his competitive program to top assistant Shawn Weatherred and told him it’s his turn to drive.

Weatherred couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to lead the Devils. Eagle Valley and Weatherred will make their 2008 debuts on Tuesday with a match at Middle Park.

“I think Rob “-the previous coach “-got everything going in the right direction,” Weatherred said. “We are going to keep moving forward, and getting the program established where it’s respectable. We want to make things happen year after year.”

Although it is his first year as head coach, Weatherred has plenty of volleyball experience. He has coached volleyball for 12 years, the last three as the JV coach for the Devils. The familiarity with Eagle Valley and Crawford’s program is making the transition pretty easy.

“The girls have been great,” Weatherred said. “They’ve responded well. It’s been an easy transition because the girls already knew me.”

With things looking up for the Eagle Valley volleyball team, Weatherred plans to stick with what works. The Devils are running the same 6-2 offense as last year, with Weatherred adding his own wrinkles to throw teams off. The first-year coach said because the offense is very similar to Crawford’s, the returning players feel right at home playing the same positions as last season.

Crawford leaves Eagle Valley full of talent

Weatherred may need to send a thank-you card to Crawford for leaving him so much talent to work with. The Eagle Valley roster lists six seniors and six underclassmen who will all contribute this season. The depth is not only good for matches, but in practices, too.

Competition in practice should lead to improved play.

“Our younger kids are pushing the older kids to get better,” Weatherred said. “And it helps keep the program moving forward.”

Another positive coming out of Gypsum is the versatility of the Devils. Weatherred’s 6-2 offense can run through any player, and each Eagle Valley spiker is capable of playing any position on the floor.

“Almost every girl can play every position on the court, which gives you options,” Weatherred said. “And they can play it at the same level as there regular position.”

Both of Eagle Valley’s setters from last season return to the court. Whitney VanVoorst and Kelsey Foster helped the Devils to a 7-7 record in 2007. The beneficiary of all those assists should be Angela Phillips. Cousins Whitney Wright and Shelby Wright are also back among the many talented athletes who dot Weatherred’s squad.

Battle Mountain, here we come

Once again, Weatherred expects Battle Mountain to be the team to beat in the 4A Western Slope. Glenwood Springs and Moffat County could also compete for the title, but don’t count out Eagle Valley.

With all of their returning talent, the Devils could find themselves in the upper echelon of the standings by season’s end. Not that Eagle Valley is looking that far ahead. The Devils aren’t setting long term goals, instead they want to concentrate on the little things.

“We take it one point at a time,” Weatherred said. “We try to win the next point and everything takes care of itself.”

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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