Huskies finish season at 24-5
DENVER ” One of the anomalies of the state volleyball tournament is that a team can finish its season with a win without winning the brass ring.
The Battle Mountain volleyball team would have rather been playing later into the day Saturday at the Denver Coliseum, pursuing a state title. But a 25-21, 25-19, 25-15 win over Cherokee Trail to wrap pool play and the season went a long way toward making the Huskies’ world brighter after two wrenching five-game losses Friday.
“It feels good,” sophomore Hannah Ellison said. “It feels really good. It was hard yesterday. I feel like we came out there today and just played. It was the seniors’ last day and we really kept our minds on what we had to do. We really thought about having fun with each other.”
Following last year’s spectacular state-title run and the departure of several key players, Battle Mountain capped another great season with a 24-5 record.
“I think we came out here and we just put it all on the court for our seniors,” libero Kelsey Plath said. “It was their last game. This season was just amazing. We had a brand-new team. We had a lot of expectations set for us from last year’s team, but we didn’t let that get to us. Things didn’t go our way. We took the first two (matches) to five. Today, just ending on a win just shows what Battle Mountain is.”
The Huskies are three-time defending Slope and District 7 champions, not to mention a resilient bunch.
Somewhere between the time the Huskies left Court 4 at the Coliseum late Friday and returning Saturday morning, they managed to put themselves back together.
“We had a team meeting last night,” Ellison said. “Devon (Abbott) brought us together and said, ‘Listen, this is the last time we’ll be playing together. We should go out there and kick butt. Let’s get out there and show them what we can do.'”
The Huskies showed the Cougars in a very efficient manner. Setter Alexa Corcoran set the table and seniors Abbott, Kori Landauer and Jen Thul knocked them down.
With things firmly under control, coach Brian Doyon was able to sub his younger players in to get state experience. As Battle Mountain knows well from appearing at the Coliseum the last three years, state volleyball is a different environment.
“I’ve been in situations like this, but others haven’t experienced it,” Ellison said. “I think it’s great. It’s such an experience. Some people don’t get to do it. Some people don’t get to be in the atmosphere of state. It’s a great experience.”
Junior Sydney Miller got the honor of pounding the final kill of the season.
“I thought it was really cool,” Miller said. “I wasn’t really expecting to get the last kill of the game. It really helps me out for next year to know I can do it and help the team. It felt awesome.”
Abbott, Corcoran, Landauer and Thul finished their careers on deservedly-winning notes.
“They made our season,” Plath said. “I think, if it weren’t for them, it wouldn’t have been what it was. I look up to all four of them. All four of them helped me throughout the year. They made our season.”
“They’re amazing in every way,” Ellison said. “They’re great to look up to. They are my heroes. I can’t wait to see where they go later in life.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.