Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain spikers win; showdown set
Well, it’s all set up.
Both Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain volleyball won their league matches on Saturday afternoon, setting up the latest edition of “The Biggest Game in the History of Everything … Until the Next One.”
The Huskies (4-4 overall, 3-1 in the Slope) will host the Devils (7-4, 4-0) on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. It also happens to be Battle Mountain’s Homecoming week, though neither team really needs any more motivation.
In Gypsum, the Devils took down Palisade in three, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17. Alyssa Ortega filled in for Devon Green at libero, toting up 20 digs and passing “impeccably,” according to Devils coach Lindsey Meyers.
And good play in back starts it the other way. Carlee Morrison had 15 kills, followed by Kylie Martin (nine) and Haley Collier (seven).
And that is seven in a row for Eagle Valley after an 0-4 start, but please don’t call it a turnaround.
“I wouldn’t say we turned it around,” Myers said. “We’ve been playing well all season. Those challenging matches early in the season made us better. We’ve been working on the skills we need to refine. The girls have learned to harness their energy to take us though each game.”
Meanwhile, in Edwards, the Huskies did their part with the obligatory three-game sweep of Rifle, 25-17, 25-11, 25-16.
With the Bears in town, the Huskies used to opportunity to play some different players. Taylor Keep had a good day at opposite hitter. Coach Jason Fitzgerald said that Lilly DeMuth “showed great leadership as the setter.” And Autumn Panlilio made her varsity debut as a defensive specialist.
Both coaches naturally downplayed the significance of Wednesday’s game.
“We just talked today that we’re not quite halfway through the season,” Fitzgerald said. “We still haven’t seen Eagle Valley, Glenwood and Steamboat. We’re excited to be played our neighbors, but we still have to be patient as far as how the whole season goes.”
“I think it will be an easier travel week,” Myers said, rightly noting that a half-hour bus ride to Edwards is nothing compared to trips to Coal Ridge and Steamboat. “We’re taking them one at a time. We know where our weaknesses are, where we need to practice, and we’ll come out strong.”
Saints take two
LAFAYETTE — And while the hype builds around the 4A local showdown, please remember that 2A Vail Christian has a pretty solid volleyball team, as well.
The Saints kept chugging along this weekend with a 25-18, 25-22, 26-28, 26-24 Gore League win against North Park, followed by a nonconference win against Caliche, 25-14, 25-13, 25-19, in Lafayette.
The North Park game was probably a little bit tougher than the Saints had wanted. The Saints hit very well, but North Park just dug everything. Vail Christian setter Remy Beveridge also had the stomach bug this weekend, which understandably affected things. She gamely played through it.
The Saints made it 8-0 on the season against Caliche and 59 fouls were not called. (Sorry, flashback to the 2013 basketball state third-place game.) The Buffs did make the mistake of only single-blocking Taylor Alexander and Ciara Heiden. They fired away at will.
Vail Christian has a big week ahead. The Saints are at Soroco on Tuesday for their rivalry game. Then it’s off to West Grand on Friday and at Hayden on Saturday.
Devils blank Palisade
GYPSUM — It took the Eagle Valley soccer team a little time to shake off the after effects of a bitter 2-1 overtime loss at Steamboat on Thursday, but the Devils delivered in the second half for a 4-0 win against Palisade on Saturday at John Ramunno Field.
Paco Serna had a hat trick and Noel Ruiz, who had two assists, also scored on a penalty kick.
“We had so many chances (in the first half), but we couldn’t convert. It was a little mental slowness,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “We had a great second half. It was night and day.”
Despite a tough one up in Steamboat Springs, there is still a ton of soccer ahead for the Devils (8-2 overall and 5-2 in the 4A Slope). Eagle Valley is at Summit County on Tuesday seeking its first win against the Tigers in three years.