Huskies bite back, beat Devils
EAGLE VAIL – After five white-knuckle, teeth-grinding, hoarse-throat games that lasted for more than two and a half hours Thursday night there was just this: a ball floating over the edge of the net, the visiting Eagle Valley Devils volleyball team preparing for the ensuing spike, and Huskies’ sophomore outside hitter Sofia Lindroth soaring to hammer home a game clinching, match-clinching, county bragging-rights clinching kill against her team’s fiercest rival. The strike flew to the opposite corner of the court and was dug by Eagle Valley senior outside hitter Kenzie Shreeve. But, the next Devils touch got tangled up in the net and the ball fell to the floor before it could be hit again, giving Lindroth and her teammates a surprising come-from-behind victoryGame 5: Battle Mountain 15, Eagle Valley 13.The Huskies are back. “I was really determined,” Lindroth said. “We wanted this so bad. Just all the work that we’ve done the whole season comes out in that last point. You can feel it. You know it.”Nobody knew the Huskies were going to come back from two games down to force Eagle Valley into a tiebreaker. The Devils jumped out to what seemed to be an insurmountable lead after squeaking past the Huskies, 25-22, and, 28-26, in the first two games.
The second game was the war of the evening, with the Huskies jumping out to a five-point lead in the early going before the Devils clawed back behind the serving of Shreeve, Kellee Hollis and Jessica Stiles.Both teams were playing tense, with the game teetering back and forth, going from 24-24 to 25-25 and then 26-26, before Shreeve was able to smash home two kills off assists from senior setter Whitney Donohue for the Eagle Valley win.Still some fight leftThe life may have gone out of the Battle Mountain gym after that game, but the Huskies still had a pulse and surged back to take Game 3, 25-22. The victory was keyed by the hitting-by-committee tact taken by coach Brian Doyon, who used senior setter Nichole Lindroth to prop up hit-able balls to right side hitter Crystin Rodrick, middle blocker Nicole Penwill and outside hitters Casey Gilbert and Sofia Lindroth.”We knew Kenzie was going to have her day,” Doyon said. “It was a matter of accessing that, but also putting our girls in a position where when Kenzie’s in the back row, some of our top hitters are in the front row.”
Added Devils coach Karl Talcott “They kind of got in gear and eliminated their hitting errors and made more digs. We added more hitting errors and didn’t get as many digs and that’s exactly how you get a close match.”The Huskies followed their first win of the night with another squeaker, getting the benefit of a correct illegal hit call at 23-19 in the fourth game to reach game-point. They won the game on the next serve from Paige Bennett after the ball hit the net and then fell over to the Eagle Valley side and Devils junior Amanda Padilla and senior Mariah Scott were unable to rescue it from the ground.And, then there was Game 5 – the final round in what ending up being a 15-round brawl.”It was a dogfight and we knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Doyon said. I’ve been telling the girls for two days now that this game is going to be one of the hardest games they play and it’s going to come down to every error. Every great play is going to matter huge.””They came out strong and their fundamentals are getting better,” Donohue said. “We didn’t execute as well as we should have and they dug a lot of the stuff we usually get.”As was the routine of the evening, both teams traded punches up to a 10-10 tie, then to 13-13 in the decisive final. Rodrick then blasted a kill to put the Huskies on the brink and from there it was the Lindroth sisters who put the Battle Mountain over the top. In the ensuing pandemonium, there were tears shed by the Devils and a mob surrounding the upstart Huskies.
There was a solitary shuffle out the gym doors from the Eagle Valley crowd scored by the shouts and screams of the Battle Mountain fansAnd then there was this from Nichole Lindroth, who said she believed in her team’s fate even in its darkest hour, even when it seemed the Huskies faithful had lost hope.”(The early mistakes) made us realize how much we really wanted it,” she said. “We wanted it so bad to beat our rivals. When we make mistakes, that just makes us want to push harder and get that kill. In the fifth game, we knew we were going to kill the ball.”Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org