Devils spikers swoosh past Skiers in three
GYPSUM – Down 24-23 with Game 1 on the line against a scrappy Aspen team, Eagle Valley volleyball coach Karl Talcott called a timeout to refocus his team.
Whatever coach Talcott said, it worked, as the Devils rallied to win the opening game 27-25 – and then pushed on for decisive wins in the next two games (25-22, 25-20) to knock off the Skiers, 3-0.
“We just talked about playing within ourselves,” said Talcott, regarding the crucial timeout. “I wanted to see if we could make it happen.”
Eagle Valley’s Kenzie Shreeve proved to be the difference maker on the night, belting home a Kelli Verderber assist for the Game 1 winner, and then serving four straight aces in the second game that proved to be too much for the Skiers to overcome.
Shreeve finished with a team high 22 kills and six aces.
“I don’t think they’d seen a hitter like Kenzie this year,” said Talcott. “Kenzie often seems to have answers whenever we need them. We just sit back and watch.”
The Skiers tried to make it interesting in the second game, getting as close as 24-22 before Shreeve had another duo of kills to ice the game. After going up 18-10 following Shreeve’s four aces, the Devils played sloppy, giving up easy points on illegal hits, netted balls and misplaced shots.
“We got down a little bit, but we ended up coming back and going out strong.” said senior captain Trista Sandoval. “We just lost a little focus.”
The third and final game proved to be the most one-sided of the match as the Devils cruised out to a 19-9 lead, before finishing off the Skiers, 25-20.
Aspen did go on a 10-2 run to get as close as two points but, unlike the second game, Talcott didn’t attribute the letdown to lack of focus.
“We were trying some things we haven’t tried in match play, some plays that we have been working on,” said Talcott. “When things did get close, we could go back to our bread and butter.”
With the win the Devils improved to 12-3 overall and 4-1 in 3A Western Slope League play.