Eagle Valley scores comeback win
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley’s motto is simple. “Next point.”
Devils volleyball coach Shawn Weatherred doesn’t want his team to look ahead to the next match or game. Weatherred wants his team to concentrate on the upcoming play.
Eagle Valley executed the slogan to perfection on Tuesday, coming back after dropping the first game to beat Grand Junction in four, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16 and 25-19.
“(Next point) is the main goal we’ve been stressing,” Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred said. “That’s been our main focus, to play the next point and keep a level demeanor out there. At this age, some of the girls take things to heart all the time. We are working on that. It seems like it’s starting to pay off. We’ll see how it goes.”
Grand Junction grabbed control of a back-and-forth first game behind the strong play of Brittney Richardson. The outside hitter blocked two consecutive kill attempts to give the Tigers a 18-16 edge. Only a point later, Richardson smashed the ball to the floor to push the advantage to 20-16. Grand Junction went on to win the first game, 25-22.
“I just told them to keep going for that next point,” Weatherred said. “I thought that we were better than that, and we’d be OK if we just settled down and played our game.”
Eagle Valley answered in Game 2. Kelsey Foster drilled two kills for a 5-4 lead. Later, Whitney VanVoorst found open space on the Grand Junction side for a 12-6 advantage. A perfect assist by VanVoorst set up another Foster kill to give Eagle Valley a 22-14 lead and eventually a 25-18 win.
Freshman Alex Lassa shook off her first-home-game jitters to keep the momentum in Eagle Valley’s favor in Game 3. Lassa started the game with a kill and went on to add four more in the set. Her slam late in the game made the score 23-15 in the Devils’ favor.
“Alex said as a freshman, she was nervous going in,” Weatherred said. “But when she gets on the court, she just plays and that’s all that matters. The game comes to her, she sees it pretty well as a freshman. For her to play at that level as a freshman is pretty good.”
A number of players had a hand in Eagle Valley’s fourth-game victory. A Kacey Bair block gave Eagle Valley an early 3-2 lead. Shelby Wright drilled a kill almost parallel to the net for a 9-7 lead. Bair, a strong presence at the net all night, ended the game with another block for a 25-19 win and a match victory.
“Kacey Bair played awesome,” Weatherred said. “She really made a big difference at the net. She made an adjustment during the first game. She was getting up early, she made an adjustment and she started making some blocks. That’s a testament to her coachability and being able to change what she is doing.”
The win improves Eagle Valley’s record to 2-1 this season. The Devils are back on the court on Thursday at Delta.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.