Eight shoot for state
EDWARDS – The buzz is starting at Vail Christian. If the volleyball team makes it to state, the question du jour is “Will students be allowed excused absences from school to cheer the team on down at the Denver Coliseum?”While we don’t doubt that the fervor is pure school spirit, and not the desire to have a day off from the books, don’t put the cart before the horse, people.The more apropos question is can the Excellent Eight punch its first ticket to the 1A state tournament in school history? The Saints are in Gunnison Saturday for the 1A Region 1 Tournament. It’s La Veta, followed by North Park and then Mountain Valley. Two wins will likely do the trick. Three would assure it.”It’s a buzz that no one wants to talk about,” setter Britni Beagley said. “We don’t want to jinx it, but it’s in the back of everyone’s head.”The Saints have won their first conference title and advanced through districts for only the second time, the first coming in 2003. The team has a 19-5 record, easily the best mark in the history of the program. But they aren’t there yet.”We talked about the fact that we have to get through this weekend to get to their goal,” coach Cathy Alexander said. “That’s where we left it. Their goal is in a reachable spot if they can make it through match-by-match through the weekend. We have a big job to do.”Hello againThe Saints went 4-1 at the District 1 Tournament in Montrose last weekend. The one loss was to North Park, whom Vail Christian should meet at around 1:45 p.m. That time is based on 1 hour, 15 minutes per match. Odds are game times will be later. If fans are grumpy with the length of the proceedings, the official tournament director is Vail Christian athletic director Mike King. He’s likely seeking political asylum in North Korea after reading this.Anyway, the 21-3 Wildcats knocked off the Saints in a grueling five setter, 25-20, 19-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-9. Since North Park has been one of the better teams in District 1, the Saints come out of that loss with confidence for the rematch.”The loss to North Park was almost a good thing because it showed us that we will have to work for it, but we can do it,” Beagley said. “Losing by six points to them was a big disappointment, but at the same time, it’s definitely going to be an encouragement to us.””They are not at all untouchable,” Alexander said. “When we played them, we were both in the same boat. We had played the same number of games. It’s just a matter when you’re playing a game like that of who makes the fewest mistakes. It went back and forth. That particular night, we just made a few more mistakes than they did.”
UnknownsThe rest of Region A is an unknown quantity for Vail Christian. The Saints open the tournament at 10 a.m. against 22-1 La Veta. At 4:15 p.m.-ish, Vail Christian has 21-2 Mountain Valley.Alexander expects to see two athletic teams, and got a bit of a scouting report from Vail Mountain’s Mike Garvey, who’s seen these teams before on regionals. After that, Vail Christian simply has to focus on its own game,”We get everybody on the mindset that we’re going to go play VMS or North Park or Dove Creek,” Molly Brooks said. “We prepare for a five-game match. We prepare ourselves for the hardest, diving, hustling, playing the hardest team you’ve ever played. We mentally prepare ourselves for that.”Coliseum?The Saints have lots of motivation to get to Denver.”If we did make it to state, not only would we be making history for Vail Christian, but personally just because I’ve been on the team with Jackie Parker since I was a freshman,” Brooks said. “She just took me under her wing and showed me the ropes of volleyball and the ins and outs of athletics. I’m just doing it for Jackie.”And if that happens, the students of Vail Christian can begin their politicking for excused absences. The Vail Daily suggests talking to principal Tim Wong about the greatness of Cal football or to Bob Isbell about the hole-in-one he got on his birthday on No. 12 at Cotton Ranch a few years ago.Region A at Gunnison Games start at 10 a.m. and roll consecutively. The traditional allotment is 1, hour, 15 minutes per game, but due to the competitive nature of this bracket, things may be delayed. Please do not yell at the tournament director.10 a.m. – Vail Christian (19-5) vs. La Veta (22-1)
11:15 a.m. – North Park (21-3) vs. Mountain Valley (21-2)12:30 p.m. – La Veta vs. Mountain Valley1:45 p.m. – Vail Christian vs. North Park3 p.m. – Vail Christian vs. La Veta4:15 p.m. – North Park vs. La VetaOther regionsRegion B at La JuntaSpringfield (15-5)Kit Carson (22-1)Manzanola (11-9)McClave (15-8)
Region C at FlaglerFlagler (17-5)Liberty (19-3)Hanover (22-1)Otis (19-4)Region D at FlemingFleming (22-1)Denver Waldorf (11-3)Peetz (18-5)Community Christian (17-4)Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.