Meeker takes down Vail Mountain School |

Meeker takes down Vail Mountain School

Vail Mountain's Erica Charles dives for a shot while being backed up by teammate Whitney Merriman, left, during their game against Meeker Friday in East Vail. The Gore Rangers lost to the Cowboys in three games.
Justin McCarty | |

EAST VAIL — Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s gone.

Vail Mountain School volleyball clearly misses libero Ellen Edgerton, and that was on display in a tough 25-15, 25-19, 25-16 loss in the league opener to Meeker on Friday night in East Vail.

It’s not the end of the world. The season is not lost, by any means. (If history teaches us anything, VMS volleyball usually has a steep learning curve throughout the season.) But Vail Mountain’s serve return was a big problem in Friday’s loss.

It’s hard to replace a player who was only the second in school history to be named all-league for all four years of her career on the court — Cely Brinkmann was the other. And the fact is that it all starts with the serve receive. If a team can’t do it well, then it can’t start an attack or much of anything offensively.

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Finding rhythm

“I think one of the biggest things we’re seeing is that when you have a lack of playing time, and you haven’t played a lot, serve receive is the most difficult part of the game,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “It’s something for us that we’re just trying to get our rhythm back. There are aggressive servers at this level. I think we’ll continue to improve at it. I know the ladies want to improve at it.”

That’s a valid point from the coach. VMS (1-3 overall and 0-1 in the 2A Slope) was at a serious disadvantage in matches played compared to Meeker (5-5, 3-0).

The good news is that VMS is finally getting into a rhythm with regard to the schedule. The Gore Rangers head to Walden today to face North Park, and start getting two or three matches per week.

More pep

VMS definitely had more pep in its game than on Wednesday. The Gore Rangers jumped out to an early lead in Game 2 with tough serving from Stephanie Kolhofer. An ace from Erica Charles had the Gore Rangers up 11-9 in the middle stanza. Four serving errors proved untimely in that game as Meeker surged to a 25-19 win.

And, yep, that’s also an game-experience issue.

“I think it’s court time,” Garvey said. “We’re asking our servers to be aggressive. When you ask for aggressive serves, the tendency is to get a higher error percentage. We’ll get better.”

In the housekeeping department, VMS has rescheduled its match at Paonia for Oct. 1 and will be at Plateau Valley on Oct. 12.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and

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