Eagle Valley unable to mount comeback
GYPSUM – Trailing early makes winning hard. This is what the Devils volleyball found out the hard way Tuesday night against Grand Junction.Eagle Valley fell behind in all three games, and dropped the match to the Tigers, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23. The Devils rallied in spurts, but they were unable to close the gap at the end of the games.It seemed like a harbinger of things to come that the match started out with a timeout being charged to the Devils after they tried to fix a mistake in the starting lineup.”We got off to such a rough start,” said coach Rob Crawford.In the first game, the Devils were within striking distance after falling behind by large margins. But Grand Junction timeouts quelled the momentum of the comeback.”Grand Junction got comfortable with their lead, and we started to play better,” said Crawford. “That’ll happen as the team is progressing.”There were many points that were up for grabs, with lose balls dangling up near the net. Grand Junction ended up on the winning end of a lot of these points, using tips or quick kills.”The team we were playing was very scrappy,” Crawford said. “They got a lot of things in the air, and that’s frustrating for an (opponent). We want to become scrappier and keep more balls in the air.”One player for Eagle Valley who was proficient in making sure the ball wouldn’t stay in the air on Grand Junction’s side was Ashley Farenholtz. In addition to her three aces, Farenholtz had 11 kills on 18 hitting attempts. Joanna Storer had a solid game setting for the Devils.
Michelle Parmenter recorded two aces, and a team-high seven digs. Both Parmenter and Farenholtz used jump serves that caused trouble for the Grand Junction defense.”They scare the opponent,” Farenholtz said of jump serves. “And, it’s usually tougher to dig up.”Back and forthEagle Valley scored points in groups throughout the night. In the first game, the Devils trailed 18-5, and before too long, they battled back to 19-16. But, Grand Junction avoided a meltdown and won the next six out of eight points.In the second game, the teams traded points, and neither team led by more than two points when the score stood at 12-12. Grand Junction then won six straight points, and after a Eagle Valley side out, won the next point, and cruised to a 22-13 advantage. At 24-15, the Devils staved off three game points, one on a jump serve by Parmenter.”Michelle coming in and jump serving at game point, I just can’t imagine myself doing that,” Crawford said. “She does it with no problem.”Crawford lauded the team’s aggressive nature, even in cases when it hit the ball out of bounds.In the third game, the Devils went down 21-16 in the third game, but knotted it up at 23, before losing the last two points.
Filling the gapOn some lost points, Devils players paused for a fraction of a second before moving to a loose ball. Crawford hopes to fix the hesitation in practice.”In the preseason, we’ve done a lot of hitting at the kids, hitting near the kids, but in the game time when the ball is coming off the hands of a block, our kids are having a hard time going forward on that,” said Crawford. “We’re going to work on that very hard next week.”The Devils’ Summer Forsyth thinks the team has the physical ability to get to those balls.”I think we need to work on balls falling on floor, but it’s also a mental thing,” Forsyth said. “If you are hit at over and over again in practice, you expect the ball to be hit at you.”There are some other spots the team needs to tighten up before facing Battle Mountain next week. The team had 11 hitting errors and 23 passing errors.”We’ll need to work on tips, and we’ll need to cover the middle more and get up on blocking,” Farenholtz said. “And, you also have to be really good defensively against Battle Mountain.”The new defensive blocking scheme is showing signs of improvement.
“On the swing block, our middle hitters are doing it, but our right sides are in the habit of staying outside,” Crawford said.Season ahead Last Saturday, the Devils fell in straight games to Middle Park. “They are amazingly upbeat for not having won a game yet this season,” Crawford said. “You can’t beat that – we want them to be happy.”If the Devils continue to play like they did on Tuesday, they won’t have to worry too much about winning games.”We’ve been more of a team in the past two games than ever before,” said Forsyth. “Last year, we were intimidated to make mistakes, but now our teammates are there for us.”Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado
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