Many happy returns as Devils sink Steamboat |

Many happy returns as Devils sink Steamboat

Happy birthday, Jerry

Eagle Valley's Sophia Rinn is in her office firing against Steamboat Springs Tuesday in Gypsum. Rinn and the Devils won in three sets to move to 6-0. (Chris Dillmann

GYPSUM — The oldest unwritten rule of high school volleyball is “Don’t disappoint the Fan of the Game.”

OK, no one’s written that or unwritten that (if that’s possible), but Jerry Fedrizzi was the Fan of the Game on Tuesday for Eagle Valley’s 25-15, 28-26, 25-19 win over Steamboat because it was his 80th birthday and what better way to celebrate than by watching Olivia Fedrizzi, his granddaughter, and the Eagle Valley Devils.

“She does perfect every night,” Jerry said between the first and second sets. “I think the whole team’s good. I hope we continue to get off to a good start.”

Please note that, of course, every family views the billing differently for the team. Ask the VanGoey family, and they will describe the team as “Avery VanGoey and the Eagle Valley Devils.” Holli Snyder? Unquestionably, it’s Eli Wetzel and the Devils.

Grandfatherly pride, especially on an 80th birthday, is allowed. Come to think of it, Jerry doesn’t get to watch Olivia play on his birthday often, especially for Eagle Valley since the Devils usually play from August to November.

“It’s a special birthday,” Fedrizzi said. “It’s special for all of us getting to watch.”

“Oh my gosh, heck no, we couldn’t lose on Jerry’s birthday,” said Avery VanGoey who sets along with C.J. Yurcak.

“It was one of those moments where (athletic director Tom LaFramboise) made the announcement, and then we did the lineups and started playing,” Devils coach Mike Garvey said. “We forgot the, ’Win one for Jerry,’ speech.”

Eagle Valley's C.J. Yurcak sets the table for the attack against Steamboat Tuesday in Gypsum. Along with Avery VanGoey, Yurcak is keeping the Devils’ offing pumping. (Chris Dillmann

Watching with family with grandson Keaton, an alum of the state championship Battle Mountain hockey team. on one side and his better half, Jan, on the other, the Fedrizzis liked what they saw on Tuesday

Again, after watching teams start quickly or slowly during Season B (basketball, hockey, wrestling and skiing), it’s really stupid to do the hot take — Eagle Valley volleyball is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Probably not.

But Eagle Valley is now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Slope. The three wins include Palisade, Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs. Along with defending league champ from 2019 in Glenwood Springs and Eagle Valley (2017-18 Slope champions), those are the usual suspects for the crown.

Beating Steamboat Springs, coached by Wendy Hall, is a good win because the Sailors are just a fundamentally sound and successful program. Yes, the Devils have to play at Steamboat April 15, and that will be tough, but they’re banking wins.

“We don’t know what the league looks like yet,” Garvey said. “Wendy always has a well-coached team, one of the more consistent teams we see. We were a little rough yesterday in practice and we were rough today, but we continued to grind and finish in three.”

By the way, it’s also worth noting that Eagle Valley is the only team in the Slope still undefeated. Palisade, Battle Mountain and Glenwood all have one loss. Steamboat has two.

There’s the Fan of the Match’s favorite volleyball player. Eagle Valley's Olivia Fedrizzi makes her grandfather, Jerry Fedrizzi, proud on his 80th birthday by beating Steamboat Springs on Tuesday. (Chris Dillmann

As for the match, the second and third sets were competitive, perhaps too competitive for some. That said, it was really neat to see Garvey work in senior Allie Carvill in a live situation. Practice all you want, but nothing matches live varsity action and that pays dividends down the road with your team’s depth.

This was Garvey instilling confidence in Carvill and C.J. Yurcak and Anna Gill. Carvill was in the action when Game 2 was 26-26 and with the Devils looking for match point at 27-26, Yurcak and Gill were in the front row, while Sophia Rinn was serving. In this situation, it should be the opposite: Rinn up front and Yurcak and Gill in the back.

Naturally, Rinn got the ace and Yurcak and Gill didn’t have to put up the monster block of which they are doubtless so capable.

The games just don’t stop and Eagle Valley hosts Summit on Thursday,

“One of the good things about (the schedule) is that you don’t have time to dwell on the mistakes,” Yurcak said. “You just keep going.”

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