Huskies return to Coliseum
PUEBLO WEST ” And now for a new approach for regional volleyball ” the longer you have to travel to the tournament site, the better you do.
Battle Mountain volleyball doesn’t care if next weekend’s 4A state tournament is in Tokyo. The Huskies are going for the third straight year.
Battle Mountain dropped its opener to Montrose, the eventual Region D Tournament champion and most-traveled team, but turned it around, rallying for wins against Ralston Valley and Pueblo West for a spot in the Tokyo Dome, or more likely the Denver Coliseum.
“It feels awesome,” said senior Kori Landauer, who along with teammate Devon Abbott will be making her third-straight trip to state. “All four of the seniors are close. We really feel like we earned this one.”
“I’m freaking out right now,” Abbott said. “Last year, it seemed like it was handed to us. It didn’t seem like hard work. I think this year we worked hard as a team to win.”
Comparisons between the state-tournament teams of 2006 and 2007 are inevitable, but each season is a new journey and this one’s been sweet for Battle Mountain.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Huskies coach Brian Doyon said. “No matter how you’re looking at it, this was a rebuilding year. We lost eight seniors from last year’s team. The younger kids have done a great job coming in and showing that hard work and good volleyball can get you to the state tournament.”
Battle Mountain’s road to the Elite Eight was a rocky one. As the second-seeded team in Region D, the Huskies hoped to dispatch Montrose and Ralston Valley to clinch a state berth before facing top-seeded Pueblo West. As it turned out, Montrose turned the tournament on its ear.
Montrose beat Battle Mountain in four games, and ended up with the regional title.
“I think we played them fairly tightly,” Doyon said. “Montrose played very well. Give them credit. They had a decent block and strong hitting and won this region. At least, we lost to the regional champion. Unfortunately, the regional championship match ended up being the first match of the day.”
The Huskies, however, did not have the benefit of foresight. Having not yet seen Pueblo West, by seed the team to beat, Battle Mountain faced the possible end of its season against Ralston Valley.
“We came back and we realized that we have to do this,” Abbott said. “We didn’t want to end our season then. We were really upset. The last thing we planned on doing was losing first thing in the morning.”
“Coach helped with that,” Landauer said. “We refocused and started re-evaluating what we did wrong and just made it a new beginning.”
Montrose helped the cause by beating Ralston Valley in three before the Huskies faced the Jeffco champs. The Huskies then took care of business, sweeping the Mustangs as well.
Devon Abbott came up big against Ralston Valley with a .500 hitting percentage.
“That second match was so much fun,” Abbott said. “We really played well. We played with confidence and it helped us go into the third match well.”
The Huskies entered the final match of the day with a 1-1 mark while host Pueblo West was 0-2. The Cyclones with a win could have forced a three-way tie with Battle Mountain and Ralston Valley. That would have meant a one-game playoffs, similar to a situation the Huskies faced in the 2005 state tournament.
The Huskies avoided the complex math by downing the Cyclones, 25-21, 25-12, 25-27, 25-19.
“Pueblo did not roll over for this match,” Doyon said. “We lost Game 3. (Pueblo) played hard and forced the pace. The girls responded and kept the pressure on them.”
Next stop, Denver
In other tournaments, Berthoud won Region A and will be the No. 1 seed in 4A at 26-0 when the field comes out today on chsaa.org. No. 8 Cherokee Trail took the second spot in that region as No. 8.
Region B also went to form with No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain and No. 7 Longmont going through. No. 6 Regis scored a minor upset, taking down No. 3 Mountain View, which also advanced.
No. 13 Montrose should be ranked ahead of the No. 5 Huskies by virtue of its head-to-head win. Brian Doyon expects the Huskies to be a sixth or seventh seed when CHSAA unveils the rankings today.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
This is just my guess for the state rankings and pool alignment. The official ones come out on chsaa.org today. As always, no wagering, please.
1. Berthoud (26-0)
2. Cheyenne Mountain (24-2)
3. Regis (22-4)
4. Montrose (18-8)
5. Mountain View (22-4)
6. Battle Mountain (23-3)
7. Longmont (21-5)
8. Cherokee Trail (21-5)
Pool I ” Berthoud, Montrose, Mountain View and Cherokee Trail
Pool II ” Cheyenne Mountain, Regis, Battle Mountain and Longmont