Montrose takes down Huskies in four sets
EDWARDS — It’s hard, but just remember that Thursday was just one of 22 matches.
With all the emphasis on a season-opener, it’s easy to forget that there are 21 more matches for Battle Mountain volleyball after Montrose came to town and beat the Huskies, 25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19.
Leave it to the coach for some nice historical perspective.
“We looked at the history of Battle Mountain versus Montrose back to 2007,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “We have beaten them one time. We knew it was going to be a tough match. They’re a good program. We’ve been 0-1 to start the season before. We’ll start the same way this year. It’s not something we’re not familiar with, so I think we’ll be just fine.”
And for the trivia buffs in the audience, the one time Battle Mountain did better the Indians was 2007, when the Huskies were the defending state champions and had some key components of that 2006 squad still in uniform.
It’s still a tough one to swallow because the Huskies have been trending upward the past two falls, including an 11-11 campaign last year. That put Battle Mountain on the state bubble, something that was likely popped by a 2-5 mark in five-game matches. And one of those best-of-five losses last year was Montrose, so Battle Mountain had hoped to turn the tables.
Getting on the same page
The Huskies appear to be a very talented and experienced squad. Jordan Brandt is the only underclass-person on the team made up of juniors and seniors. The challenge will be getting everyone on the same page.
“I think a little first-game jitters ate our players,” Fitzgerald said. “Just a little inconsistency and first-game jitters. We didn’t drop any set by more than six points. We were in it. We just have to find a few points.”
Battle Mountain (0-1) showed some serious fight in Game 3 after falling behind the Indians, 2-0. The Huskies’ Tesha Olson recorded a block to give the Huskies a 6-4 lead in that set. The senior and junior Mackenzie Ellison proved to be a nice tandem up front teaming up for several rejections of Montrose’s powerful attack.
The duo combined for a block and Ellison then recorded four of the next five points for the Huskies, upping the advantage to 13-9. Senior LaRose Currie chimed in with a powerful attack and thunderous kill, her signature. Emily Clinton, who also had a solid game, pushed the Huskies out to an 18-12 margin with a tip, and the Huskies were rolling.
In a sign of those first-game jitters which Fitzgerald referenced, the Huskies had three severing errors in a row while trying to close out the third game, but Battle Mountain held on for the 25-23 win.
With some nice serving from Jessica Cuomo and Ellison and a boomer of an attack from Clinton, the Huskies managed to take a 13-11 edge in the fourth, but Montrose’s talent and Battle Mountain miscues tipped the tables.
“This group, although we have a good core group back from varsity, they need experience on the floor together,” Fitzgerald said. “They have to be under pressure together. I think we are stronger than we have been all-around than we have been the last three years.”
Battle Mountain returns to action Sept. 7 at Rifle for a non-league game.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and via cfreud@vail daily.com.