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Jaggers ready for the postseason

Jessica Jagger, the sweeper for the Eagle Valley soccer team, is heading to Fort Collins Saturday for the Devils’ first-round state-playoff game against Heritage Christian.

Meanwhile, across the state, Craig Jagger and the Eagle Valley baseball team take on Machebeuf in their state-playoff opener.

“Our parents have to run around a lot,” Craig joked.

For the record, Dad (Gary) will be in Grand Junction, cheering the baseball team, while Mom (Pam) will be supporting the soccer team in Fort Collins. Doubtless, they’ll both be working the cell phones.

It’s been a great spring for the siblings. Their two teams are a combined 34-3-1. Heck, it’s been a great year for them. Jessica, a junior, has two state appearances this season with softball and soccer, while Craig, a senior, has the hat trick with football, basketball and baseball.

“It’s just a great feeling to have a senior year that’s been filled with a lot of goals and being able to go to state,” Craig said. “It’s hard to go to state and it’s just great that we’ve been able to have a chance to go three times in one year.”

Eagle Valley soccer has wowed the Slope with its emergence this spring. Outscoring your opponents 79-12 will do that. A lot of attention has been paid to those 79 goals-scored. When you have two 25-goal scorers in Brooke Baughfman and Samantha Phillips, that’ll happen.

But pay attention to the number 12 in that 79-12 statistic. Yes, the best defense is having a good offense.

“My coaches always tell me they need to get me squirt bottle or a squirt gun to keep me awake because I’ll start falling asleep,” Jessica jokes.

She’s being modest, because as the team’s sweeper, she’s one of the last lines of defense for the Devils.

“I love it. It’s a lot of fun,” Jessica said. “Sometimes, I have a lot of pressure against the better teams because, if they get behind me, they have a one-on-one with the goalie. And my job is just to get it up to the forwards.”

Aside from the winning, which is definitely fun, Jessica says the best thing about the 2003 Devils is their camaraderie.

“We’re a bunch of girls that goof off,” she said. “We have team-bonding days, where we go out to the movies or go out to dinner. We’re just really close, like a bunch of best friends.”

The same can be said of Craig and the Devils baseball team. This set of Devils is no stranger to the post season. Jagger and some of his mates got a taste of the state tournament in 2001. He definitely noticed the difference in the level of competition when it comes to playing Front Range teams.

“It was just fun going to state that year and being able to watch and see how baseball is played down there, just having a chance to play great teams like that,” Craig said.

Like his sister, Craig, a right fielder, is an advocate of defense, which he believes will be key on Saturday, if the Devils are to advance to the final four.

“We just want to go out there and play like we know how we can,” Craig said. “Hit the ball and have good defense. Good defense is going to be the key because that wins games.”

With a brother-sister combo, it’s always tempting to ask what would happen if the two switched roles.

“I would never be a soccer player,” Craig said shaking his head.

“Probably one that pushes people around,” Jessica joked.

Apparently, Craig had no doubts of Jessica’s abilities on the diamond.

“She’s a home-run hitter,” he said.

Chris Freud is the sports editor of the Vail Daily and can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 6014 or at cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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