Eagle Valley survives | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley survives

EVVB two-small fans KA 10-02-08

GYPSUM , Colorado ” Shawn Weatherred’s job just got a lot tougher.

Gone is one his best players, and a senior leader. Whitney VanVoorst ” a key cog in Eagle Valley’s attack ” is lost for the season to a torn ACL she suffered on Tuesday at Glenwood Springs.

Now, the Devils will mix-and-match players trying to find a new combination. So far, so good. Eagle Valley (12-1, 9-0) downed Delta 25-16, 24-26, 27-25, 25-16 Thursday in Gypsum.

“Whitney is still there. She is still going to lead us,” Weatherred said. “But other people are going to have to step up.”

Eagle Valley cruised in the first set 25-16, but things got interesting in Game 2. The Devils took an 16-10 lead, only to watch Delta come back. A Micaela Alexander ace closed the deficit to 17-14. Alexander hit another ace to give the Panthers a 23-22 advantage.

The teams traded the next few points before Rachel Speas hit hardwood with a spike for a 25-24 lead. Delta went on to win the second set 26-24.

“Delta kept digging the ball,” Weatherred said. “They kept hitting it back over. They kept the ball in play, kept the ball in play, and forced us to make mistakes, and we were.”

Game 3 also went down to the wire. Alex Lassa gave the Devils a 10-9 advantage with a big slam. Angela Phillips made it 17-13 with a well-placed tip over the net.

Just like in Game 2, Delta fought back. The Panthers took a 24-22 lead on an Ana Vieyra ace, but Eagle Valley didn’t give up. Lassa tied the score 24-24 with a kill. Shelby Wright clinched the game for the Devils 27-25 with another winner.

“We would finally get the flow, and we would give it away,” Delta coach Leigh McLaughlin said.

The Devils regained their Game 1 form for an easy victory in the fourth set. Whitney Wright pushed Eagle Valley ahead 13-8 with a kill. Angela Phillips stretched the lead to 18-12 with another winner.

A Lauren Shreeve slam ended the match.

“Delta played great,” Weatherred said. “They gave us a scare. They literally gave us a scare. We started playing scared. The girls did a great job in the fourth game to rebound and really play a better ball game.”

“We just mentally weren’t here tonight,” McLaughlin said. “Mentally, my team did not play well. We are a better team than that.”

Eagle Valley hosts Battle Mountain on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

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