Devils spikers start strong at Demon Invitational
When it comes to Eagle Valley volleyball, did somebody say, “rebuilding year?”
With just one returning starter from last year’s state-tournament team, Eagle Valley made a statement at the season-opening Demon Invitational this weekend. The 3A Devils beat 4A Jefferson, 5A Fruita Monument, 3A-power Denver Christian before falling to 4A Glewnood Springs – ranked fifth in 4A – in five sets.
Replace, “rebuilding,” with “reloading.”
“We thought we played brilliantly,” Devils coach Karl Talcott said. “We played like we did at the end of the season at the state tournament. I’m not surprised by our effort. I’m pleasantly surprised by the high level of execution that we had at this point of the season.”
“It’s really exciting for our team because we’re so young,” Devils middle-hitter Trista Sandoval said. “I think we have a lot of heart and will. Just to play and executive well helped us a lot. I think we have a lot of confidence that we can play with the bigger teams.”
That started with a 25-15, 25-11, 25-23 win over 4A Jefferson Friday night. Sandoval led with 10 kills, while Shannon Aragon had a team-high six aces. In all, the Devils had 20 aces
Class 5A Fruita Monument was the next to fall on Saturday, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21. Kenzie Shreeve, the team’s lone starter from last season, showed serious versatility with 13 kills and 13 digs.
Against Denver Christian, it was a 25-23, 25-12, 25-21 sweep. Shreeve pounded 18 kills and added eight digs. Whitney Donohue paced the squad with 26 assists and seven aces.
In the semifinals, the Devils took powerhouse Glenwood to five sets before falling 25-23, 19-25, 18-25, 25-19, 9-15. Though it was a loss, it was likely the highlight of the weekend for Eagle Valley.
“We really like what it did for our game-readiness,” Talcott said. “It gave us a good look at the level of speed we want to play and what we’re going to face in the postseason. It made us work on transition situations. It was definitely a confidence builder for the kids.”
Against the Demons, Shreeve had 28 kills, five aces and nine digs. Sandoval had knocked down nine kills. Aragon pitched in with 11 digs, while Mariah Scott had seven on her own. The team combined for 11 blocks, its best effort of the tournament.
The Devils, 3-1, host 4A Moffat County Saturday at 1 p.m., in their home opener.
Huskies 3-2 at Moffat
The Battle Mountain volleyball team got off to a nice start in 2003 with a 3-2 performance, good for fifth place, at the Best of the West Volleyball Tournament in Craig.
“It’s fantastic,” Huskies coach Brian Doyon said. “They played phenomenal volleyball. I think our serving was the key. It put teams on the defensive early in rallies. We also played good defense. We had excellent coverage defense.”
Battle Mountain went 1-2 in pool play, beating Hayden 25-16, 25-9, before losing to both North Park and Hotchkiss.
In the consolation bracket, the Huskies met up with Hayden again and swept the Tigers again, this time 25-9, 25-14. In the fifth-place game, the Huskies dispatched league rival, Delta, 25-19, 25-16.
The Huskies have their home opener Thursday at 6: 30 p.m., vs. Summit County.
Saints fall in Glenwood
Class 1A Vail Christian understandably struggled against some much larger competition this weekend at the Demon Invitational, going 0-4.
The Saints were swept by Grand Junction and Roaring Fork. The Saints also fell to West Grand and Denver Lutheran, but did win a set each against the Mustangs and the Lights, respectively.
The Saints host Ridgway at 1 p.m., on Saturday.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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