Even in a loss, Vail Mountain volleyball finishes well | VailDaily.com

Even in a loss, Vail Mountain volleyball finishes well

Vail Mountain School volleyball celelbrates after winning a point against Limon at the state tournament in Denver on Saturday, Nov. 9. While the Gore Rangers lost in four and were elimated from the tourney, their legacy will likely grow.
James Mill | Special to the Daily

In 2002, I ended up doing lines at a Vail Mountain School game.

The first set went well as whomever the Gore Rangers were playing didn’t hit the ball very hard. I made the calls.

In the second set, all of a sudden, I saw my life flash before my eyes. Then-VMS setter Tiffany Allan put it up perfectly to Lara Bossow, who absolutely crushed the ball right at me.

Seeking self-preservation, I never saw the ball. I dutifully pointed my hands toward the court and declared that the ball was in. If anyone wanted to argue, bring it on.

This is relevant because I am never doing lines again, and, after this year’s Gore Rangers were eliminated at state down in Denver late Friday, Nov. 9, by Limon, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18, I did what sports writers do — start comparing the current VMS team to its predecessors and where everything fits.

Compare and contrast

For those of us who are entering the “Get off my lawn” stage of life, the 2002 team was special. VMS was a machine, crushing just about everything in its path. Bossow, now Golos, known to all as Tree, was one of those players whose kills made a different sound.

Maggie (nee Haslee) Connor and Miss Julie Littman, for those of you in her English classes, made for a terrifying trio offense with Allan setting them up all day.

The only thing that really stopped them was a scoring error at the state tournament.

The nice thing is that in revisiting the loss to Otis back in 2002, I’m really not bitter about that loss.

Did Tree hit the ball harder than Sarah Evans does now? Maybe, edge to Tree?

Let’s make it clear — I am not standing in front of one of Evans’ spikes for the purposes of science.

Haslee vs. Lexi Linafelter? I dunno.

Littman vs. Oly Holguin? In English class, we take Littman.

The 2002 team went 25-2, dominating 1A competition. Included in that season a two-set — it was still sideout scoring back then — demolition of 4A Battle Mountain.

This year’s team finishes 21-7 as a 2A team against much tougher competition throughout the season. The 2A Slope is much better than the old 1A Mountain League.

One could go around in circles doing this.


It’s no secret that soccer is a bigger part of the DNA of the Vail Mountain School. Always has been. But this is the most important point of comparison between 2002 and 2018.

The 2002 team — the program started in 1997 — introduced volleyball to the school and made it a thing. Because the 2002 team was so dominating, it had to be explained to neophytes the next year that sweeping everyone every match was not normal. Seriously.

Back to soccer, one of the reasons that it’s a marquee sport in VMS’ culture is that 20 years of students — a good portion who attend K-12 — have grown up seeing the Gore Rangers in orange in the playoffs. It’s inoculated in the culture: VMS kids grow up wanting to play soccer and wear orange while doing it.

Think about the regional tournament last weekend and state this week. Not only was it heart-stopping volleyball, but a new generation of VMSers saw the varsity volleyball team in orange doing fantastically at the highest levels of their sport.

Yes, it’s a bummer to get bounced from state — still not bitter over 2002 — but you’ve started something that’s going to grow well after you’ve graduated and gone off to be successful human beings.

And, thus, the 2018 Vail Mountain School volleyball team measures up just fine.

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