Devils spikers return home with rivalry win
EDWARDS — As Eagle Valley volleyball hadn’t swept Battle Mountain since 2011, asking for the Devils in three was a tall order as the rivalry continued on the hardwood on Tuesday.
So when the Eagle Valley trailed Battle Mountain, 10-2, in the second set, Devils coach Jackie Rindy called a time-out.
“I told them in that second set, ‘If you give them one, we’re going five. Don’t give ’em one.’ I told them, ‘This is not our team. You’ve got to take care of the ball.’”
The coach’s advice didn’t take immediate effect as the Devils were down by as much as 12-3, but Eagle Valley rallied to win the set and eventually the match, 25-23, 25-20, 25-19.
That was the turning point for the Devils (6-2 overall and 2-0 in the 4A Slope). The Huskies run ended with a service error, one of 12 for Battle Mountain on the evening. Those would prove costly.
Haley Carpenter started the Devils’ run from behind the line. The Devils’ offense features many weapons, and as the rally gained steam, it was clear that Eagle Valley’s Becy Glutova was getting hot.
And to paraphrase Keyshawn Johnson, that’s when it’s time to say, “Give her the damn ball.”
“When we get in a difficult situation and one player is hot, I just keep going to them,” Devils senior setter Molly Jewett said. “They’re not stopping her, and it gets their confidence high.”
Down 14-9, Jewett kept calling Glutova’s number. The junior crushed one point, changed it up with a tip on the next, and then slammed another.
“We were looking good,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “(Eagle Valley is) steady. They don’t make mistakes. We just couldn’t get out of that rotation. Again for us, we have to weather that storm and find a way to sideout. One sideout would have changed that set.”
Glutova is one of many choices for Eagle Valley. Emma Lassa and Kylie Martin were in fine form and Elyse Fitzpatrick also got in on the action with blocking.
And then sometimes, the setter herself can be a threat. That started in the final stanza, when Jewett faked a set and then sent it over the net herself.
“She’s a very smart player,” Rindy said of her setter. “We talked. ‘Don’t overuse it. Use it when you need it. You’ve got to wait until they’re not ready.’ She’s been working on not using it much.”
She used it enough to cap the sweep. For the trivially inclined, Battle Mountain last swept Eagle Valley in 2013.
For the Devils, Tuesday’s match ended nearly three weeks on the road. They’ll be home on Thursday against Summit County.
“Anytime you walk out of Battle Mountain with a win, you’ve had a good night,” Rindy said. “They’re a good team and they’re hard to play.
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain (1-3, 1-2) needs to regroup with a trip north to Steamboat Springs on Thursday.
“I felt today was a measuring stick for us, to let us know that we do belong in the conversation,” Fitzgerald said. “We definitely want to clean our serving up. We made a few hitting errors that were unnecessary and a few communication errors, which are heartbreakers for us.”
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