Devils v-ball takes No. 1 seed to districts
The Devils finished a thrilling, three-set win over Roaring Fork Friday that moved them to 6-1 on the season, tied with Aspen and Cedaredge. When the seeding came for Saturday’s district tournament, Eagle Valley picked up the No. 1-seed. How? Try and follow along.
Enter tie-breaker No. 1: Head-to-head comparison. When Eagle Valley beat Cedaredge, Cedaredge beat Aspen and Aspen beat Eagle Valley this season, tie-breaker No. 1 became as useless as a toothless guard dog.
Enter tie-breaker No. 2: Next common opponent. When three teams are tied for first, there is no common opponent. Down boy, down.
Enter tie-breaker No.3: Least amount of points given up. Finally, the dog barks! Of Eagle Valley’s six wins, five only went two games. This made the difference, as the Devils were scored on less than Aspen and Cedaredge and, by a large margin too. Thus, the Devils are No.1, Aspen is No. 2 and Cedaredge picks up the third spot.
Saturday at Central High School in Grand Junction, the Devils will benefit from their top seed, as Basalt, Hotchkiss and Roaring Fork are pooled with Eagle Valley. Eagle Valley (14-5 overall) beat both Basalt and Hotchkiss in two games this season and had to come back to win the last two games to upend the pesky Rams, including a dramatic 15-13 finale.
“I know some of us are still nervous about Roaring Fork,” senior captain Kim Smith said. “It was close. It was a little too close.”
Aspen (12-7 overall) is paired with Cedaredge (14-4), Olathe (0-7 in league, 4-12 overall) and Gunnison (3-4, 5-12) in the other pool. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination semifinals.
There are some changes installed for this postseason. Because of the tie, no team will have an automatic bid into regionals. Reaching the finals is the only way to ensure a bid into the regional tournament.
Plus, all the games will be played Saturday, meaning those reaching the finals will have already played four matches.
“When it’s an all-day deal, consistency is the key,” Devils head coach Karl Talcott said. “Maintaining a high level of intensity is important. If we can keep it up like we did last season on Friday, we should be fine.”
This season is a bit different than last, though. Eagle Valley entered the last postseason with a 6-3 mark in the league and as the third-seed. While Cedaredge had secured an automatic bid, the Devils upset Aspen Friday and counted on Cedaredge to reach the semifinals. When both Cedaredge and Eagle Valley lost on Saturday, it meant the Bruins went to state and the Devils went home.
The secret this year, said captain Erin Sterkel, is keeping the games as short as possible.
“We want to win in two games, so you don’t have to play that extra time,” Sterkel said.
While being the No. 1-seed might have advantages, it also means the top team carries a bull’s-eye with them.
“When you’re at the top of the league, everyone is gunning for you,” Talcott said. “We can’t look by anyone, because nobody is looking past us.”
Editor’s note: Keep reading the Vail Daily this week for coverage of Vail Mountain, Battle Mountain and Vail Christian at volleyball districts.
Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.