Huskies spikers bounce back at Palisade
Vail, CO Colorado
PALISADE ” Pink, supposedly, is a soothing color.
If that’s the case, Battle Mountain didn’t buy what Palisade’s volleyball team was selling.
The Huskies left Palisade, clad in pink uniforms rather than its usual white-and-burgundy togs in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in a black mood after a 3-0 loss Thursday night.
And the defeat puts the Bulldogs in a precarious spot so far as postseason play is concerned.
The Bulldogs fell to 4-7 in league (7-9 overall) and are tied for fifth place with Eagle Valley in the Western Slope League. The combination of Palisade’s loss and Eagle Valley’s win over Delta caused the deadlock between the two teams for the Slope’s final playoff berth.
That does not bode well for Palisade, which faces second-place Steamboat Springs and Moffat County back-to-back late next week after its Oct. 16 road match at Delta.
As the Bulldogs wrap-up the regular season, the schedule down the stretch favors Eagle Valley. The Devils face Delta then Rifle, which has a combined league 1-18 win-loss record to date, prior to the team’s season finale at Glenwood Springs on Oct. 20.
The defeat wasn’t from a lack of effort on the Bulldogs’ part. There were 27 ties among both teams in the match’s first two games.
Palisade led Game 1 six times. The last time was when a Huskies’ serve hit their side of the net for a 20-19 advantage.
Battle Mountain recovered quickly, regaining the lead on a pair of Devon Abbott spikes. The Huskies hovered at game-point when Palisade’s middle hitter Bernadette Pitre nailed home a winner. The rally stalled when Kendra Collette splattered a return into the net to give Battle Mountain a 25-21 win.
Game 2 was a series of deadlocks. The furthest either team could gain on each other was three points.
Battle Mountain created each gap, once at 14-11 then at 15-12. Palisade took one-point leads later on unforced Huskies’ errors, then took a 22-20 lead on an ace from Dani Massey. Palisade then forced game point at 24-21 when Morgan Reynolds punched a free ball hovering at the net past the Huskies’ forward wall.
The final tie of the game came at 25-all on a Pitre spike. Battle Mountain grabbed the lead back on a kill from Abbott then took a 2-0 match lead when Palisade was called on a double-hit violation off a Huskies’ return.
With victory in sight Battle Mountain head coach Brian Doyon went for the jugular.
After going with a different starting lineup in games one and two due to starter Hannah Ellison’s illness, Doyon slipped in all of his regulars for the third game.
“The girls came out in their original lineup and they felt comfortable. They just came out and played their game,” Doyon said.
It didn’t take long for the change to produce results. Battle Mountain ripped the third game open by scoring 13 of the first 16 points, then rode the big lead for a 25-19 win.
Despite the rough start, Doyon wasn’t too worried with the Huskies’ performance.
“We had to make some changes because we had some players that were sick,” he said. “It took us a little while to work into it with a different lineup and some different rotations. But the girls played really well.”
Pitre finished with a match-high in kills (10) and blocks (nine). Abbott followed with nine kills.
Battle Mountain returns home for Delta Saturday at noon.