Eagle Valley Devils volleyball sweeps archrival Battle Mountain Huskies
GYPSUM — This is the classic conundrum of a rivalry game.
In theory, you want to play the game like it’s just another game, but it’s still a rivalry game with the bigger crowds, more noise and a ton of emotion.
Eagle Valley volleyball was able to reduce Round 1 of the rivalry with Battle Mountain on Tuesday night to a workmanlike 25-14, 25-15, 25-17 win over the Huskies in Gypsum.
“We just acted like it was a regular game,” Devils senior Emma Lassa said. “We didn’t act like it was a rivalry game. We’re starting to get our regular rotations in and play.”
This is easier said than done. No one needs to tell a team they are playing their archrival. The buzz is evident with a full parking lot before one even sets foot in the raucous gym.
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“We talked a lot about how (Battle Mountain) was going to be ready to play,” Kenny’s mom, aka Jackie Rindy, said. “You have to come in and control your adrenaline.”
We refer to Jackie Rindy that way as Kenny Rindy, a junior at Eagle Valley, was among the Devils fans and the student section was chanting “Kenny’s mom,” over and over, just one of the things the athletes need to zone out when playing a rivalry match.
“I think they did a good job of that,” Jackie Rindy said. “In between each serve, you could see them taking a deep breath and doing their thing. Battle Mountain is a good team. We had a good night against them, but we’re going to see them again.”
Round 2 is Oct. 19 in Edwards.
For now, the Devils and Huskies seem to be going in opposite directions. As always, the caveat is that it’s a long season, and playing well in late October and early November is the goal, not the middle of September.
Eagle Valley is off to a 2-0 start in the 4A Sloe after giving the Huskies a heavy dose of Lassa with some thundering smashes from Becy Glutova.
While the two always seem to grab the attention, Eagle Valley’s middle block, an issue with the graduation of Kylie Martin, seemed to come together on Tuesday. In addition to Elyse Fitzpatrick, Martin added in Shelbi Lubbers and Rayne Lieurance there, and the Devils were rolling.
When Eagle Valley wasn’t rolling, Battle Mountain helped. Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald was not pleased after the game with the number of errors his team committed.
“We did not play up to our potential,” he said. “This is a decision for Battle Mountain — do we want to eliminate unforced errors and be competitive or make unforced errors and be stuck in the middle for the rest of the year?”
The answer does need to come quickly as the Huskies (2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Slope) host Steamboat Springs on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley has a trip over the pass to face Summit, also Thursday. How do the Devils avoid the letdown after a big rivalry match?
“It’s the big picture,” Rindy said. “What do you want at the end of the year? You’ve got to take it one step at time.”