Eagle Valley vaults into first place
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Watch out ” the Eagle Valley volleyball team is rolling.
After an emotional win over Battle Mountain on Tuesday, the Devils cruised past Steamboat Springs in four sets Saturday. In its second match of the day, Eagle Valley dropped Moffat County in three games. The two victories catapult the Devils into first place in the Slope, improving its record to 5-0 in league play and 7-1 overall.
“I think (the win over Steamboat) definitely boosted our confidence because they were the game to win,” Angela Phillips said. “We feel pretty good about ourselves right now. We just want to keep on going.”
It appeared Steamboat was headed toward a victory over the Devils in the first game. The Sailors reeled off five-straight points to take an early 8-3 lead. Eagle Valley did its best to fight back, but serving woes ended any chance at a rally.
Steamboat’s Colleen King drilled a winner to push the Sailors’ lead to 17-10. Later, King tipped the ball over the net for another point to make it 20-13. Steamboat went on to win the first set 25-16.
“It was pretty much our typical thing right now ” to start slow, then come into our game,” Eagle Valley coach Shawn Weatherred said. “Steamboat came out ready to play. They are a good team. I expect to see them again. I expect to be challenged by them again.”
Angela Phillips helped turn the momentum in Eagle Valley’s favor in Game 2. After Steamboat rallied to knot the score 8-8, Phillips served 14-straight points, including three aces. When the senior finally left the back line, the Devils led 23-8.
“Angela’s serving is effective, that’s all we can say,” Weatherred said. “Earlier in the year, I had somebody serve for her. That shows how good of a coach I am. About 70 percent of her serves are points. I learned my lesson.”
A number of Eagle Valley players helped punctuate Phillips’ long run. Shelby Wright found the hardwood with a winner to give the Devils a 14-8 advantage. After another Wright kill, Karolina Zolniercyk tipped the ball for a point and a 21-8 lead. Freshman Alex Lassa connected for a kill to make it 23-8.
After the convincing Game 2 win, the Devils left little doubt in Game 3. A Whitney Wright tip gave Eagle Valley a 10-6 advantage. Whitney VanVoorst added a pair of winners, and Phillips slammed the ball for a 20-14 lead. Kelsey Foster ended Game 3 with kill for the 25-18 win.
Both teams faced anxious moments in the deciding Game 4, but it was Eagle Valley who came out on top. Steamboat’s Sara Williams gave the Sailors a 10-8 advantage with a kill, but the Devils clawed back. Two Whitney Wright winners tied the game at 16-16.
Steamboat regained the lead 21-18, forcing Weatherred to call a timeout. Whatever the first-year coach said in the huddle worked. A Shelby Wright slam barely stayed in, giving Eagle Valley its first lead of the game 23-22. The Devils clinched the huge victory, 25-22, when Shelby Wright and Kacey Bair combined for a block.
“We have a lot of confidence, and we build confidence within each other because we keep encouraging each other and doing our best,” Phillips said. “We really encourage each other in practice, then we come out here and let it all out on the court.”
Devils pound Moffat County
Now established as one of the top contenders in the Slope, Eagle Valley did what good teams do against lesser opponents. The Devils crushed Moffat County 25-12, 25-20 and 25-20.
Playing with its full contingent of stars in Game 1, Eagle Valley quickly jumped out to a 9-4 lead. Shelby Wright landed a shot to give the Devils a 16-10 advantage. Kacey Bair took care of the rest for Eagle Valley. The senior served six-straight points to stretch the lead to 23-12.
Whitney Wright ended Game 1 with a kill for the 25-12 win.
Weatherred mixed up his lineup for Games 2 and 3, but the Devils kept rolling along. A Becka VanVoorst ace knotted the score 16-16 in Game 2. Alex Lassa drilled three kills down the stretch to led Eagle Valley to the 25-20 victory.
The Devils Game 3 win mirrored Game 2. Moffat County grabbed an early lead, only to watch Eagle Valley came back. This time it was Shelby Wright who did most of the damage for Eagle Valley. The sophomore connected for five kills in the game, including the clinching point of the match.
Lauren Shreeve and Bair also notched winners in the Game 3 victory.
“It was good to have that little break after Battle Mountain (on Tuesday),” Weatherred said. “I thought we were a little emotionally-spent. It was good to have those three days to regroup, and be ready to come in here for a long day.”
Eagle Valley hosts Coal Ridge on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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