Lady Devils spikers sweep Middle Park
GYPSUM – So much for a warmup match.In its season opener Friday night, Karl Talcott’s Lady Devils volleyball team got a bonafide heavyweight to start its 2004 campaign in visiting Middle Park.The Devils swept the match in three straight games, but only after coming back from a 20-11 deficit in the second game to win, 28-26.It was at that critical 20-11 juncture that Talcott called a timeout to refocus his faltering team, which had ceded six points to Middle Park off mistakes in a 15-5 Panthers’ run. The two teams had been knotted at 6-6 to start the game, but after a number of long serves, shots into the net and mishit balls, the Devils found themselves on the ropes.”He said to get focused and to get back to ball control” Devils senior Mariah Scott said about the crucial timeout. “Once we got back to passing, we started to execute again.”The Devils charge was keyed by the serving of senior defensive-specialist Shannon Aragon and the hitting of senior outside hitter Kenzie Shreeve.
Aragon continued to put the ball in play – notching one ace from the back line during her team’s comeback – and Shreeve continued to smash the ball into the opposing team’s court, notching five points off four kills and a block.Shreeve also recorded an ace after two sideouts as the Devils clawed back to tie the game up, 25-25. From there, Middle Park took a one-point lead off an Ashley Loftsgard kill. Then, on the ensuing serve, the most controversial play of the evening occurred.The Panthers appeared to have won the game after Devils junior Amanda Padilla looked to have hit a kill shot too long, but the referees ruled that a Middle Park player had tipped Padilla’s ball, so the point and the sideout went to the Devils. Senior Jessica Stiles then served two back-to-back aces to give Eagle Valley the comeback win, 28-26, and seemingly bury the Panthers’ confidence.Talcott said after the game, however, that even after his team had come back to steal a win, he expected Middle Park to come out hard in Game 3. “Not Middle Park, they don’t give up.” Talcott said. “They’ve been to the playoffs the last five years and they never let down.”Added Donohue, “We had the momentum going into the third game, but we couldn’t take it for granted. We needed to stay focused and just play the game and not think that we already had it.”
In the third game, the Devils finally got their ball-control offense rolling and won easily, 25-14. Kenzie Shreeve recorded three aces from the back line to finish the evening with five, including 15 kills total.After the game Donohue said that she and her teammates liked the challenge of opening against a strong team instead of playing a softer team.”We always measure ourselves by Middle Park,” she said “Playing Middle Park in the first game of the season, it measures where we are, where they are and where we need to be.”Devils upset by BayfieldEagle Valley coach John Ramunno is used to seeing his football team churn out long runs of 36 yards. But to gain only 36 yards rushing in an entire game?That’s unthinkable at Eagle Valley.
The unthinkable happened, though, when visiting 2A Bayfield came to Hot Stuff Stadium Friday night and upset the 3A Devils 13-7.Eagle Valley managed only 57 yards of total offense and was held to just two first downs in the first three quarters before finding some offensive success in the fourth. “We just weren’t able to get anything going consistently,” Ramunno said. “They were able to run the ball and throw the ball all night and we just couldn’t seem to get anything started. I think it’s just basic things, not staying on blocks, stuff like that.” Senior Brad Gamble caught the lone touchdown of the night in the second quarter to tie the game at the half. The score came on a fourth-and-goal from the 12 when sophomore quarterback Mike Medsker found Gamble in the end zone.Bayfield’s two scores came from junior tailback Seth Minton, the last coming in the fourth quarter. “It was the ugliest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Gamble said. “We were the better team out there and it’s disappointing to think that we lost because of basic fundamental mistakes.”David Hernandez was the leading tackler for Eagle Valley with 14 stops on the night.Chris Freud is the Vail Daily Sports Editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Coloado