Eagle Valley downs Battle Mountain, clinches Slope title
GYPSUM — The Eagle Valley Devils are this year’s 4A Western Slope champions after defeating Battle Mountain in four sets, 25-14, 21-25, 25-15, 25-20.
“It’s a huge win for them to win it outright because the last several years its been a three-way race to the finish,” said Devils coach Jackie Rindy. “So to win it outright with still two matches left shows they worked hard all season.”
That they have.
The Devils are 10-0 in Slope play, 16-2 overall, and the stumble in the second set against the Huskies was Eagle Valley’s second dropped set in league play this season.
On rivalry night with the gym packed full of both Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain faithful, and the Devils honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month as the Huskies did on Tuesday, both teams struggled to keep unforced errors to a minimum.
“It’s the rivalry match. Neither team plays well,” Rindy said. “They were both making a lot of mistakes and it’s who can get to the end with the least amount of mistakes.”
Battle Mountain coach Jason Fitzgerald tallied 24 unforced errors by his Huskies in the first set, but the Huskies picked it up in the second.
Tied in the second set, 18-18, the Huskies went on a 7-3 run with Lily DeMuth setting up Avery Weaver and Timaree McKenny down the stretch.
“The lore this year is theyr’e untouchable,” Fitzgerald said of the Devils. “I’m sorry it didn’t go five. We’d play them all night if we could.”
More action to come
The Huskies went back and forth with the Devils in the final two sets, but Molly Jewett and the rest of the Devils found their groove.
Jewett served up Emma Lassa, Becy Glutova and Elyse Fitzpatrick early in the third set before connecting with Kylie Martin for the final few points. Martin ended the fourth set on a powerful shot that Weaver was unable to handle.
“I think that we played not for ourselves but for the people that have or had breast cancer,” Jewett said.
The Devils fans were jumping in pink as the team raised money for The Side-Out Foundation, a nonprofit that enhances breast cancer research and awareness.
Up next for Battle Mountain (12-6, 6-5) is the final league game of the season, at Summit County on Tuesday. Then, the Huskies travel for the Coal Ridge tournament before getting ready for the playoffs.
“It doesn’t get easier for us,” Fitzgerald said.
And the Devils now have two more league games to go before traveling to the Evergreen tournament to get ready for playoffs.
What’s the mindset with the Slope clinched?
“Honestly, just beat the rest of the teams we’re playing and then get stoked for regionals,” Glutova said.