Devils spikers sweep rival Huskies at home
Eagle Valley improves to 8-3 overall and 4-1 in the 4A Slope
GYPSUM — One particularly brave Battle Mountain student waving a massive Huskies flag decided to take a run in front of the overflowing Eagle Valley bleachers before Tuesday’s rivalry volleyball match.
That led to some Eagle Valley students coming over to the visitor bleachers to snatch the flag before an adult eventually intervened.
In the end, the Huskies got to the keep their flag, which is fine by the Devils. They’ll take the rivalry win.
In front of a packed gym, the Devils spikers jumped on their upvalley rivals early, then withstood a spirited Huskies rally late in the second game to roll to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-14 sweep at home.
“It feels great,” Devils senior Evie Geddes-Boyd said after the win. “The crowd was really awesome tonight. I just think it makes it so much more personal, since we know the girls there and they all work really hard during the club season and then we get to play them as rivals. It’s just a lot of fun.”
It was a lot of fun, especially in the early going with both cheering sections giving each other the business and hanging on every point.
While the Devils won the match, Battle Mountain’s “You’ve got COVID!” chant might have won the most laughs.
Eagle Valley’s Cassandra Yurcak staked the Devils to an early 7-1 lead in the opening game with three aces and the home side never looked back, keeping the Huskies off-balance in the 25-16 win.
“Definitely a step up that we’ve made in the last couple of weeks and our serve pressure has been a difference for us,” said Devils coach Mike Garvey. “The girls are learning the new serves and we challenged them tonight with some new serves.”
In the second game, the Devils ran out to a 10-4 lead before the Huskies, led by an aggressive defense, clawed back. With Eagle Valley leading 17-15, Battle Mountain’s Karol Loera smashed a kill from the right side of the net to pull the game to within one, and then Loera and Alexis Barthuly teamed on a huge block to tie the game. Geddes-Boyd hit long on the next point to give Battle Mountain its first lead of the night.
The Devils called a timeout to regroup, and the teams traded points up to 21-21 before battling for what felt like forever on a single point. The Devils eventually won the rally to go up 22-21 and then pushed the Huskies to game point when Emily Hinchliffe and Chloe Turner teamed on a block of the Huskies’ Yvonne Sarieva. Eagle Valley’s Anna Gill then served an ace for the win.
“When we struggled, we continued to fight,” Garvey said. “That was the key, as you know. If you saw our warm-up shirts, the backs say: Strong Voice. And it’s about talking to yourself positively and giving yourself a positive message. And that’s what they did. They believed in themselves.”
Battle Mountain coach Shelby Crummer said she was proud of her team’s defensive effort on Tuesday, but she also challenged her players afterward to not let the external environment impact what they do on the floor.
“We talked about not focusing on beating a team, but focusing on playing the way that we know we’re capable of playing and supporting each other in our own successes,” she said. “A lot of playing our own game really.”
With the win, Eagle Valley improved to 8-3 overall on the year and 4-1 in the 4A Western Slope. Battle Mountain drops to 2-6 and 1-4 in the Slope.