Huskies’ Hand makes first team for 4A Slope volleyball |

Huskies’ Hand makes first team for 4A Slope volleyball

First year Battle Mountain volleyball coach Brian Doyon wanted a fresh start for his volleyball team in 2003, after the team had struggled to a disappointing 7-14 mark the year previous.

With a finish of 9-13, as well as three players being announced to all-league honors this week, it looks as if Doyon got his wish.

“For my first year, I think it was a really good year,” said Doyon. “I know we improved as a team throughout the season. Overall, there was a lot of improvement in volleyball skills as well as volleyball thinking.”

Huskies senior captain Skylar Hand was chosen for first team 4A Western Slope honors for her stellar play in the middle, while freshmen setter Crystin Rodrick and junior middle blocker Jenna Tjossem were both given honorable-mention honors.

Both Hand and Tjossem played key roles for the Huskies at the front of the net in 2003, while Tjossem provided steady play all year as the team’s assist leader.

“I think the one thing that spoke for itself is that the team nominated two captains for the team and Skylar was one of them,” said Doyon. “She’s well respected by all of her teammates, and she’s a great player. I switched her from outside to middle this year, and she still had a great senior year. All around, she’s just a really solid player.”

Crystin Rodrick, who is the younger sister of junior Candyse Rodrick, also one of the Huskies starters, was one of many surprises for Doyon in his first year at the varsity level – a player who exceeded the expectations of a ninth-grader.

“She had a lot of weight on her shoulders, being a freshman and having a sister who is a junior,” said Doyon. “She handles herself really well on the court, and she has got an awesome little jump-serve. For a freshman, she’s just an an awesome competitor.”

As for Tjossem, the last of the Huskies three all league selections, Doyon believes that his junior middle blocker is, by far, the most determined athlete in the group, as well as in the classroom.

“She is great middle,” said Doyon. “Just a super determined athlete and an overachiever in life. Everything she does is perfect. She is always her toughest critic.”

In terms of looking forward to next year, Doyon is excited about prospects in 2004. While he hoped that this year’s team might be able to finish .500, he was pleased with the overall competitiveness of his Huskies and believes that they set a strong foundation for the future.

“I’m going to continue coaching some of them through the offseason, with club Then we’ll really pick it up again this summer,” said Doyon. “Even though we were three games under .500 during the regular season, we were never really blown out of any game, other than Glenwood. Next year, I would really like another competitive season and get above .500. I’m really looking forward to working with some of these players, and the younger kids, too.”

Nate Peterson is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608 or via

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