Everybody sing, ‘Sweet Caroline,’ as Battle Mountain volleyball beats Eagle Valley
EDWARDS — Sweet Caroline. Good times never felt so good.
If you’re a Battle Mountain fan, you’re allowed to do the “So, good, so good, so good” refrain.
It was a big Neil Diamond sing-along after Huskies volleyball eked out a 23-25, 26-24, 25-20, 18-25, 15-9 victory over Eagle Valley on Thursday, Sept. 20, in Edwards.
“It’s definitely a good way to end our game, for sure,” the Huskies’ Eleanor Sheahan said.
“One of the best songs ever made,” added Battle Mountain setter Ava Spangler.
Were you expecting anything else?
This was cosmically destined to go five.
For the Huskies, it was their first win over their archrivals dating back to 2015, and might serve as a rallying point as the season continues.
“This is probably one of the biggest celebrations I’ve seen in a while in our gym,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “Eagle Valley’s had our number the last two years.”
“I would just say that’s wicked awesome,” Sheahan said of both beating Eagle Valley and Neil Diamond. “That makes our team so special is we work together so well. We’ve been out here since July 1, pushing ourselves. It was a great win and it paid off in the end.”
In for Huffman
As much as Eagle Valley has been dogged by injuries, the Huskies had to deal with their own. Without Tatum Huffman, who was wearing a medical boot on her right foot, Battle Mountain leaned on McKenzie Clyncke and Marilyn Ricca, and both came through in the clutch.
“Huge for them to step in and hold their spots in the rotation,” Fitzgerald said.
In the fifth game, the Huskies got took over up front, getting up its block. A Ricca attack made it 4-1. Sheahan and Ricca got together for block and 8-2 lead and Battle Mountain (7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Slope) was on its way.
In some ways, it was simple. When Eagle Valley got its block up against Battle Mountain’s attack, the Devils ran the show, and vice versa. In Game 1, Eagle Valley’s Elyse Fitzpatrick set the tone during the first set with a block of Battle Mountain’s Lillian Benway, giving the Devils an 11-10. A combination block of Rayne Lieurance and Fitzpatrick started a nice Eagle Valley run.
In a theme of the evening, the Devils let the Huskies back in the first set with a tie at 23. Devils setter Kaitlin Medina opted for the attack instead of the pass for a key point and Gates closed out the set with an attack.
Battle Mountain changed up its serving rotation during the second set and aggressive serving staked the Huskies to a lead. Battle Mountain capitalized on late Eagle Valley mistakes to tie it at one.
The Huskies’ Mason Lyon served the hosts out to a Game 3 lead, and Clyncke and Ricca started to make their presence felt.
During the fourth, Fitzpatrick took over for Devils, sending it to the preordained fifth.
“Unforced errors. It’s all it boiled down to,” said Devils coach Jackie Rindy, whose team fell to 7-3 and 2-2. “It happens when you give a team that many points.”
Eagle Valley will try to bounce back on Thursday, Sept. 27, against Rifle. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain is at Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
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