Making it look easy: Huskies cruise in three
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE-VAIL ” How things have changed for these Huskies.
Two years ago, a volleyball match against Glenwood Springs was a five-game, two-and-a-half hour affair. Last year, though, Battle Mountain went three-and-out twice against the Demons. This year, with different faces on the court, including an ex-Glenwood player, it was the same story for the Huskies.
On Thursday, Battle Mountain closed out 4A Western Slope league play with a convincing 25-11, 25-21, 25-21 win over Glenwood at Homecoming at Eagle-Vail.
“Glenwood is still a big rival of ours,” said Battle Mountain’s Jennifer Thul. “Even when we played them earlier this season, we beat them in three games, and it was more of a challenging game, so I think they are eager to beat us, and we know that, so we have to play our best against them always.”
The Huskies brought their best early in the game, dominating the first game in which they did just about everything right.
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“We had a pretty good warmup and we were excited to play well,” Thul said. “It was our last game and we’ve been working all season on these things and it finally came together in that game.”
From resounding kills to solo blocks to great defense, the Huskies played seamless volleyball.
“Part of what we’re working on is taking nontraditional balls that are coming to us and putting those back into an in-system play,” Battle Mountain coach Brian Doyon said. “One of the bigger things is getting the ball and being able to transition quickly from that defense back into a solid offensive attack. That’s what we’re doing and we’re changing up that offensive attack.”
Glenwood adjusted a bit and picked up some momentum, but Battle Mountain kept pushing forward.
“It was our usual,” Glenwood coach Scott Nykerk said. “We played pretty tough against tough teams, just not quite enough to win.”
The Huskies trailed for parts of the final game, but earned back points and capitalized off Glenwood service errors.
“When you are up and have momentum, that will kill you,” Nykerk said.
“We’re been consistently able to fight back and stay controlled and calm in our game,” Doyon said.
Doyon was pleased with the way his seniors ” Devon Abbott, Thul, Alexa Corcoran and Kori Landauer ” performed.
“I think it’s great that our seniors are stepping up with that leadership,” he said. “Unfortunately I didn’t get to sub girls on the court, but the girls who played are doing a really good job and are holding their spots. If they make an error, they are coming back with a solid play.”
Thul led the Huskies with seven kills, one ahead of former Demons hitter Annalisa Padget.
“I’m glad she moved here,” Thul said of Padget, who has been a great addition to the Huskies.
While the home crowd made a big deal of the Padget acquisition, it’s a non-issue for Nykerk.
“She plays here and she’s not a part of our team anymore,” he said.
Glenwood saw outsider hitter Chelsea Vallario pick up several nice kills as the match progressed.
“She’s our big swinger and our leading killer every match,” Nykerk said. “She had a rough start, and then she picked it up and in the next two and swung well.”
But Vallario and the other Glenwood hitters had trouble solving a fortuitous Battle Mountain block, led by Hannah Ellison and Abbott, who each had seven.
“We’re doing much better at setting up a block and reading,” Doyon said.
Corcoran had 23 assists, finding Abbott for five kills and Ellison for four.
With the win, Battle Mountain moves to 15-2 overall and finishes league at 13-1. Saturday, the Huskies host 5A Doherty to close out the regular season.
“It’s going to challenge us as far as hitters, passers ” the whole nine yards,” Doyon said. “It’s going to be a challenge for the girls and helps to set us up for the postseason in terms of how to play. They will probably be the strongest team we’ll see all year.”
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.