Huskies spikers aiming high in ’05
EAGLE-VAIL – Come Oct. 20 when Battle Mountain volleyball hosts its final regular season game against Steamboat Springs, there will be no Senior Night.Parents will not receive flowers. There will be no on-court hugging. There will be no pictures taken.That’s because Brian Doyon’s squad has no seniors. Make it Junior Night because Huskies boast eight juniors and two sophomores, all loaded with more experience than usual for players of their age.”Bigger, better and stronger,” Doyon said. “They’ve all grown up in my system. This is the first group that I’ve had since they were freshmen to come all the way through. All these girls earned their spots. They’re a great group of kids.”
Huskies volleyball took a huge step last year recording its first winning season since 1999 and its first plus-.500 campaign since moving to 4A. The Huskies finished fourth in the Slope behind champion, Palisade, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs, and would like to take it to the next level in 2005.”Pretty much our goals are going to be to work together and try to get to regionals,” said Crystin Rodrick, who is one of the team’s captains along with Britney Brown. “We were two points (away) last year. Regionals is definitely a good goal, and from regionals, we’ll make a new goal.”The pieces are in place with outside hitters Sofia Lindroth, Sydney Nichols and Kori Landauer. The middle blockers are Nicole Penwill, Devon Abbott, and Sarah Simmons. Brown and Rodrick are the setters, but will see a lot of time up front. Look for Kendra Havlik and Allie O’Connor at libero.Most of the Huskies have been playing in the offseason with club teams and at national tournaments, as well as having a year or two, at least, of varsity experience under their belts.
“It definitely helps that we’ve played a lot,” Brown said. “We started young. A bunch of us have played for different clubs this season, which was kind of hard. Now, we have to get back to playing together, but we worked a lot. The experience is paying off.”That offseason play has had an added benefit.”The big part is they all came in fit,” Doyon said. “They all came in ready to play volleyball. None of them came in not ready to play or with delusions. That’s a huge difference. I’m not trying to condition them and have practice at the same time.”While, the Huskies have grown physically during that last nine months, they are still going to play by Doyon’s defense-first philosophy.
“I still think we need to hustle to outplay some of these teams, but I think the part that’s easier is that we have a little bit more of an offensive threat because we have kids who have grown up and learned how to attack well,” Doyon said. “But, defense is always going to be key.”They came in with very good skills at a very high level, very proficient. Now, it’s just teaching them more of the refinements of the game. The big thing is that I want them to be free thinkers and to be able to be creative. Because when they do that, they have a true mastery of the game.”The Huskies open in Eagle-Vail Sept. 1 against Summit County. League play begins with a bang with Eagle Valley at home on Sept. 13.”I think we’ll do pretty well,” Brown said.
“I think we’ve got a lot of good girls. We’ve got a lot of juniors and some sophomores coming up who are very talented, too. So I think, we’ve got a lot of talent on this team and we’ll do fairly well this year.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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