Huskies return to state
EAGLE-VAIL – As is tradition, sirens blared Thursday afternoon in Eagle-Vail as the Huskies volleyball team got an escort out of town on its way down to the Denver Coliseum and the 4A state tournament which starts today.It’s been seven long years since the sirens blared for Battle Mountain volleyball, but the Huskies (23-3) are back in the big dance in Denver.The Huskies are the sixth seed in Pool II with No. 2 Mountain View (24-2), No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain (24-2) and some high school from Glenwood Springs (No. 7 at 23-3) with whom the Huskies might be familiar.”It should be (called) Glenwood Mountain,” Huskies coach Doyon joked about the name of Pool II.For all those who aren’t familiar with the state tournament, each classification plays on the same court starting at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, so the times of games are not precise. The Huskies face Cheyenne Mountain in Match 2 today at approximately 9:15 a.m. Around 6:30-7 p.m., it’s Mountain View. On Saturday, Battle Mountain-Glenwood, Part III, should go off about 9:15 a.m. The top-two teams from each pool go to semifinals roughly at 4 and 5:15 p.m. The final is at 7 p.m. Saturday.On paper, Pool II looks stronger than Pool I. The latter has the 800-pound gorilla in 26-0 Sterling, but it also has eighth-seed Fort Morgan at 12-14. Greeley West and Pine Creek, the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively, round out Pool I. Pool II’s aggregate record is 94-10. Pool I’s is 82-22.”It’s going to be good fun,” Doyon said. “Do they understand the scenario of how important it is? Sure. Being at districts, being at regionals, playing for the league championship, they understand. They know exactly what the scenarios are.”
“It’s going be tough competition, but Denver teams are too cocky,” Huskies co-captain Crystin Rodrick said. “We need to show them that the mountain teams can do something.”The MountainsThe Huskies will have to prove it against the Mountains (Cheyenne Mountain and Mountain View) today.Cheyenne Mountain is the Colorado Springs Metro champ. The Indians’ only losses are to Rampart in an early season tournament and to 5A Lewis-Palmer. Cheyenne Mountain won both districts (where the Indians swept Delta) and regionals (where the Indians took Glenwood in four.)The Indians are the most unknown to the Huskies in Pool II.”Cheyenne’s going to be he more balanced attack,” Doyon said. “I’ve got to make sure which rotation, where our strong points are to their strong points. I’d rather have our strong players and our strong players. That’s key.”Natalie Schoon runs the show for the Indians at setter (800 assists). Anna Nyhoff (253 kills) and Andrea Brodie (219) lead the attack for Cheyenne. Brodie is also the team’s leading blocker with 89.
“We’re just going to have to be on our on-game all the time,” Rodrick said. “If they throw one at us, we throw one right back. It’s going to be point-for-point in this tournament.”The Huskies are more familiar with Mountain View, their second opponent. Battle Mountain and Mountain View met three times in a summer tournament this year. The Huskies won twice in pool play and the Mountain Lions won in the final.It should be noted that the Huskies were without Rodrick for that tournament. However, Rodrick has played with Mountain View’s Karyn DenBoer in a national tournament.Battle Mountain’s focus against the Mountain Lions will be on middle hitter Sarah Carson (210 kills and 125 blocks).”Their middle runs a lot of out-of-the-middle things,” Doyon said. “She’s not a middle who stays in the middle. She’ll move side to side and a lot of back slides and a lot of back attacks. She’ll hit outside as well.”Doyon also feels that the Huskies have a favorable matchup with Mountain View setter Megan Roark, who’s on the short side, when her rotation comes to the net.The Demons
Oh, yes, Saturday morning Battle Mountain and Glenwood meet to complete pool play.”It’s meant to happen,” Rodrick said. “We thought we had them at the beginning of the season. They came back and showed they could beat us. It’s time for some revenge.”Battle Mountain beat the Demons in four in Eagle-Vail and Glenwood returned the favor later in the season, putting away the Huskies in five.”We’re excited. That’s going to be fun,” Huskies setter Britney Brown said. “I cannot wait until Saturday to get that revenge. I’m looking forward to that match.”The key for the Huskies is to have that match mean something. The Huskies need to beat either Mountain View and/or Cheyenne Mountain Friday to make the Glenwood game have state implications. Doyon doesn’t want these two teams meeting with 0-2 state marks and the game being a glorified, but likely well-fought exhibition.”It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Doyon said. “That should be a good battle, especially on Saturday morning. Hopefully, it’s a battle for something. I think all of the games will be very difficult.”The circus at the Coliseum
State volleyball at the Denver Coliseum is definitely an experience. All five courts are going at once. Schools bring cheerleaders and bands. One of the funniest things to watch and hear is all the small schools in 1A and 2A from the northeast corner of the state. The bands wear Nebraska red, but play the CU fight song.Vail Mountain fans will be their with their cowbells. Errant volleyballs will roll onto your court in the middle of play and whistles from other matches will be blowing constantly.The key is to focus on your own match, says Rodrick.”You actually do zone (the noise) out. You only hear your court. It’s funny because as soon as the play is over, you hear everything,” Rodrick said. “One time I wasn’t able to zone out, and this was at nationals, I thought the whistle was blown and it was served to me, so I caught it. The officials were like, ‘Um, lift.’ I’ll never stop playing now.”A lot of Battle Mountain players are battle-tested in club play where there are 50 courts going at once. “Hopefully, they take from what they do at big club tournaments,” Doyon said. “Hopefully, they understand it’s going to be a lot like that. There’s going to be a lot of play. There’s going to be a ball that rolls onto your court. It just can’t distract you. I think the girls will handle it really well.”Extra servesThe first five callers to 949-0555, ext. 14630, to identify 7 of the 13 members of the 1998 state team as well as the coach get a free Vail Daily T-shirt. … Some numbers for Battle Mountain. Brown leads the team in aces with 46, followed by Sofia Lindroth (40). Nicole Penwill and Devon Abbott are tops in blocks with 69 and 60, respectively. Not surprisingly, Rodrick leads with 180 kills with Lindroth right behind with 173. Brown is tops in assists with 593, while Rodrick leads in digs with 203. … This week was finals week at Battle Mountain. So, Britney Brown, what’s tougher – finals or the state tournament? “That’s a good question,” the setter said. “Probably state. There’s a lot of great teams out there and it’s going to be a challenge. But I have confidence in my team to do well.”