Down but not out, Huskies rally past Palisade
EAGLE-VAIL – There’s the new, rally-scoring system in high-school volleyball.
Then, there’s the old-fashion comeback, which Battle Mountain performed to perfection Saturday afternoon against Palisade. After losing the first two games, 25-17 and 25-15, the Huskies danced, cheered, hustled, pounded and gutted their way to an improbable comeback, by winning the final three games 25-23, 25-18 and 15-12.
“It was awesome to see the girls fight back in the third game,” Huskies coach Brian Doyon said. “It showed a lot of character. The last two games were more typical of how they play in practice and how they play in big tournaments and it was good to see them finally get out on the court and play well.”
“I was excited to play,” said Casey Gilbert, who was phenomenal in the fifth game. “We’re not known to win. This year, we’ve been playing together since the beginning of the summer. All we’ve wanted to do go out and prove ourselves. We’ve run two miles a day and practiced three hours a day. I’m just glad it’s starting to pay off.”
The Huskies were four points from going out in three games in Game 3, down 21-18. Nichole Lindroth, who likely played the best game of her career, started the rally with a kill. Jenna Tjossem served up two points and, then, with Candyse Rodrick serving, the Huskies tied it at 22.
Down 23-22, Lindroth got behind the line, but not before a Palisade timeout, during which the Huskies starting dancing and clapping like they were up 2-0 in games, instead of down 0-2.
“The tough part of the game is to allow them to get excited and also to control that excitement, so we don’t forget what we’re doing on the court,” Doyon said. “That excitement and that energy is what we need to continue to play well. It’s good to see them come out. When we get out and get ahead, it’s good to see that excitement.”
Lindroth served out the game, capped by a super block from Skylar Hand and Jodi Fleishman. That was the beginning of a trend of tough defense at the net, including Tjossem, which served the Huskies well in Games 4 and 5.
“It was just getting together, closing the block,” Hand said. “Our hands were together at the right time. We just kept on jumping at the right time and we shut it down.”
The Huskies shut Palisade down in Game 4, courtesy of the Rodrick sisters. Candyse opened the game with three points, including a block and a kill from Gilbert. Two aces from freshman Crystin, who was playing like a seasoned veteran, gave Battle Mountain a 10-5 lead.
Fleishman, Lindroth and Hand kept the Bulldogs at bay, maintaining the lead, highlighted by kills from Meagan Reigel and Crystin Rodrick. The freshman finished off Game 4 with two aces along with kills from Tjossem and big sis, Candyse.
In Game 5, Gilbert left her imprint with her serving, blocking and kills. When Palisade’s Kaela Edminston put her serve into the net, the Huskies were leading comfortably, 11-7, with four points to go.
Up 12-10, the Huskies were on the wrong end of a questionable net call and seemed to stumble. The Bulldogs took the momentum and tied it at 12, when Doyon called a timeout.
“It was one of those strategic calls where you try to freeze the other team’s server, to put a little pressure on them,” Doyon said. “But, it was also to build up the confidence of the girls. “Yeah, they made just a little bit of a run, but we can get that lead back.'”
That they did. With Gilbert serving, Amy Oliver finished the comeback with a kill, putting the Huskies fans on their feet and the team in the 4A win column in its league opener.
“It’s always tough to get that first of everything,” Doyon said. “The first home game was tough. I knew the first league game was going to be a battle. But, they came out well after that second game. We fired on all four cylinders.”
Extra spikes: Candyse Rodrick left the game in the fifth, when Hand fell on her in a collision to get to the ball. Rodrick has a bruised arm, but is expected to return soon. … Battle Mountain is at Rifle on Tuesday and hosts Steamboat Springs Thursday at 6:30 p.m. … Correction: In Friday’s Vail Daily, there was a picture, identifying Meagan Reigel and Erin Armitage. While we are all fond of Armitage, that was actually Skylar Hand.
Huskies harriers improve in Leadville
After a tough opener in Arapahoe, the Huskies cross-country team showed good improvement Saturday at Lake County.
Jenny Thorne had a big race leading the Huskies’ girls in seventh place with a time of 22 minutes, 29 seconds, earning her letter. Molly McGee was 14th with a time of 23:07 in her first varsity race. Sabrina Ste. Marie clocked a 24:49. Running with the flu, expect that time to come down. Maddie McCaulley (26:17) and Whitney Allard (26:28) rounded out the Huskies’ top five.
On the boys side, Grant Stevenson, sans Hawaiian shirt, led the way with a 19:43, good for an “H.”
“He probably would have been faster with (a Hawaiian shirt),” joked Huskies coach Mark Parish.
Zach Erickson (20:24), Davis Gaul (20:52), Ben Rogers (22:24, despite a mid-race asthma attack) and Corey Wilson (23:05) made up the rest of the boys’ top five.
“Jenny had a breakthrough day in her first race at varsity and she shows a lot of promise,” Parish said. “This was a definite imporovemt as a team. We still have a lot of work to do. We need to put together a race were the boys and the girls race well as a team.”
Battle Mountain hosts the Battle Mountain invitational Tuesday at and around the Willow Creek Par-3. The girls race at 4:30 p.m., while the boys race at 5:15 p.m. At 6 p.m., there’s an open race – a 5K -which is a fund-raiser for the team. The cost is $15 to enter.
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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