Hello again: Eagle Valley spikers meet familiar foes
GYPSUM – As Jim Nabors in his role of Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise surprise.”
Something to that effect had to be Eagle Valley volleyball’s reaction to its draw for Saturday’s Region C Tournament in Longmont, hosted by Skyline.
The Devils are the second seed in the pool and No. 6 overall in the state of the 16 remaining squads in 4A volleyball. Joining them are two familiar faces.
Palisade, at No. 14, the Devils know from such episodes as 4A Slope play twice a year. And then, there is No. 11 Pueblo West.
If this is all starting sound a little familiar – Eagle Valley as No. 6, etc, – that’s because it is. The Devils and Pueblo West met last year at this time, and the Cyclones won, delivering what was, for all intents in purposes, a season-ending loss.
“We’re pretty excited to play Pueblo West,” Devils setter Becka VanVoorst said. “We’re getting really pumped. Last year, that was our game to go to state and we lost it.”
The Devils, started regionals last year by beating No. 14 Greeley West, but lost to the aforementioned Cyclones. That made the final match of the tourney a must-win against then-No. 3 Roosevelt, and that was the end of the road in 2009.
Eagle Valley gets Pueblo West right of the gate Saturday at 8 a.m. and Palisade at around 11 a.m. The hope, this year, is that the Devils take care of business against these two teams and play a hopefully 2-0 Skyline team with a berth to the state tourney for the first time since 2002 already in hand.
“Yeah, hopefully, there’s some motivation,” Devils coach Shawn Weatherred said. “It’s a new year and they’re different players. (Pueblo West) didn’t do anything to beat us. We just didn’t play well, and that leaves a sour taste.”
Pueblo West beat Palmer Ridge in nonconference play, 3-2, while the Devils beat those Bears Saturday in the district semifinals, 3-0.
There is no need to search for common opponents when it comes to Game 2. The Devils and Bulldogs know each other inside and out as 4A Slope rivals. Palisade knocked off Mountain View, Delta and Widefield at districts before falling to Durango, ranked No. 4 in the state, in the finals last weekend down in District 8.
“I think we’re more comfortable,” VanVoorst said. “We know (Palisade’s) shots. We have a little bit of an advantage.”
Skyline enters with a mark of 21-2, the same as Eagle Valley, having conquered the Tri Valley League. The Falcons’ only loss in league was to Roosevelt. The Falcons went a perfect 4-0 in districts in the minimum 12 games. Eagle Valley did the same in 13.
“Usually, when you deal with a team from the Tri-Valley, you’re playing a very athletic team,” Weatherred said. “We’re just trying to get a little better at what we already do well.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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