Devils spikers repeat as champs
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Some knew at the time. Some didn’t.
Now, it’s official – everybody on the Western Slope knows that Eagle Valley volleyball is the league champion for the second-consecutive year.
Having seen his team down Moffat County on the first half of Saturday’s northern swing, Devils volleyball coach Shawn Weatherred didn’t tell his charges that win at Steamboat Springs later in the day would clinch the crown.
The Devils went about their business, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21, and the coach delivered the news.
“We didn’t actually now until Coach told us and said there was no practice Monday,” Jaclyn Taylor said. “We were stoked. It was pretty loud.”
Actually some knew or had an inkling that the Steamboat match indeed was the clincher. It didn’t diminish the moment or sweetness of the accomplishment.
“Oh yea, I knew,” Shelby Wright said. “It was so exciting to know it and be on the court at the time and know you’re league champions.”
“I was very aware, very aware,” Alex Lassa said. “We really wanted it.”
With the win, Eagle Valley upped its league mark to 12-0 and 14-2 overall. In fact, the Devils have now won 17-straight matches within the Slope dating back to Oct. 7, 2008.
“I’m just happy for the girls,” Weatherred said. “All the credit goes to them. They’re the ones who go out and play. It’s great that they get to do this and go to Homecoming.”
Can we reschedule?
A yes, the dance. Eagle Valley had actually been trying to rearrange this date with Steamboat because of Homecoming festivities, but it never worked out. So the Devils efficiently plowed through Moffat and Steamboat and still made back to Gypsum for the Homecoming dance.
“We’re definitely glad to be coming to Homecoming having won it, instead of arriving late and having lost,” Becka VanVoorst said.
These ladies are indeed stylish, on and off the court. And at times, the Devils made it look really easy. But despite perceptions the 2009 Slope championship was the product of a lot of work.
Eagle Valley was actually 2-2 during to start its nonleague schedule before ripping off 12-straight wins. But it was during the early part of the season that the squad began to bond and realize that a repeat title was possible.
“Definitely,” Lassa said. “When we were playing in games that we were behind in, we’d come back. Out of those times, we felt like we had a really, really good team.”
And then came the celebration with match point against the Sailors.
“It was such a great feeling,” Wright said. “No matter how tired you were, you felt re-energized. We had worked so hard as a team and we celebrated as a team.”
More to go
And they get Monday practice off, as an added bonus. That is particularly key for the Devils since Mondays are morning practices. The Devils will be collectively hitting the snooze button.
There is still plenty ahead on the agenda. The Devils are at Roaring Fork for a nonconference match Tuesday and wrap league play later on this week at Rifle and at Glenwood Springs.
But with the league title in hand, Eagle Valley will host the District 7 Volleyball Tournament Oct. 31. The Devils are the defending champs of the tourney having hosted and won last year.
Eagle Valley will entertain the fourth- through sixth-place teams from the Slope, which likely will include Battle Mountain, as well as two other teams assigned by CHSAA. The top-two teams on Halloween will advance to regionals.
“It’s been a fun ride all the way through,” VanVoorst said. “We still have a few games, and we’re looking to the postseason. I think being home helps a lot. We have more confidence and we know what to expect of ourselves.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.